Police arrest Opposition Leader and former Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, centre, on Monday night.
Police arrest Opposition Leader and former Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, centre, on Monday night. Mohamed Sharuhaan

Maldives is in a state of emergency

THE Opposition Leader in the Maldives, a former president who ruled for three decades, has been arrested at his home as a constitutional crisis in the Indian Ocean nation deepens.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's detention on Monday night came after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency, suspended parliament and sent police to the Supreme Court. Judges in the building when police arrived were reportedly held against their will overnight.

Police announced on Twitter yesterday the arrests of justices Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hamid and another judicial officer.

The turmoil follows last week's order from the court and ignored by President Abdulla Yameen - to release nine political prisoners.

The court also ruled the 2015 conviction of another former president, Mohamed Nasheed, under the Anti-Terrorism Act to be unconstitutional.

President Yameen is using the army to prevent any move to impeach him.

The Maldives withdrew from the (former British) Commonwealth of Nations in October 2016 following international criticism of its record on corruption and human rights.

The US National Security Council used Twitter to warn "the world is watching” the Maldives - population 400,000 - whose economy depends on tourism.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said President Gayoom had "systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure” since being elected in 2013.



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