India has already asked its citizens not to visit “Male (Maldives’ capital) and other atolls until further notice”. In a travel advisory, the Ministry of External Affairs also alerted Indian expatriates in the island nation to the need for heightened security awareness and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings.
Dialogue could have helped but we are disappointed that India hasn’t sent even a special envoy to deal with the issue, ” Abdulla Shahid, former speaker of Maldives Parliament, told TOI. “Also according to article 258 of constitution Supreme Court can cancel State of Emergency”, a senior opposition leader said.
The archipelago, situated in the Indian Ocean, has been rapidly strengthening ties with China, which is a source of concern for India. “Nobody in the Maldives is required to, nor should, follow this unlawful order”, Nasheed said.
Security forces are reported to have entered the Supreme Court following his refusal to carry out its ruling that jailed opposition leaders should be freed.
Officials say the court has not properly responded to a series of letters citing problems with implementing the order, including that the cases against the political prisoners are at different legal stages. The government did not immediately comment on soldiers going inside the building.
Male, which has seen a number of crisis since the ouster of its first elected president Nasheed in 2012, plunged into chaos Thursday when the SC ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”. The Supreme Court ruled that the political leaders’ guilty verdicts had been politically influenced. Since then, Yameen’s government has cracked down on dissent and jailed nearly all the political opposition, reversing several years of democratic progress.
“We would also like the U.S. government to ensure that United States financial institutions stop all USA financial transactions of the regime leaders in the Maldives”, he said. He has been in exile since 2016 when he travelled to the United Kingdom for medical treatment and was granted asylum there.
In a televised address to the nation today, President Yameen accused judges of plotting to overthrow him.
Mr Gayoom – who is the half-brother of Mr Yameen and was president between 1978 and 2008, when the country became a multi-party democracy – urged supporters to “remain steadfast in your resolve”.