Emergency in Maldives | Chief Justice, opposition leader arrested

Male: The political crisis in Maldives worsened with police arresting the chief justice of the Supreme Court and opposition leader after the government declared a state of emergency in the Indian Ocean nation.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after the government declared a state of emergency.

However, No details were given about the investigation or any charges. The charges against opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom include bribery and attempting to overthrow the government, his lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, said on Twitter.

The turmoil began when President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a court order to release political dissidents.

The opposition have voiced their protest and their is public outrage against the move by the president and there has been international condemnation.

The 15-day emergency was issued late Monday gives the government sweeping powers to make arrests, search and seize property and restricts freedom of assembly. The army has now been ordered to resist any attempt to impeach or forcefully remove President Yameen.

Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered the release of a group of opposition politicians. It also ruled that the 2015 trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is living in exile, had been unconstitutional. The country’s police commissioner had said that he would abide the court’s ruling and would enforce it. In response, the government of President Adulla Yameen sacked him.

After President Yameen Abdul Gayoom lashed out at the court, opposition protests had spilled into the streets of the capital, Male, and soldiers in riot gear have stopped lawmakers from meeting in the parliament building. In a statement issued after declaring emergency Yameen said on state television,  “though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.”

Meanwhile, Indian government is closely monitoring the situation in the Indian Ocean nation and issued travel restriction on citizens travelling to Maldivies.

The United Nations, United States and other foreign governments have urged the Maldives to respect the court order. The U.S. also strongly criticized the emergency decree, which State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said also imposes travel restrictions.

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