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Concerned India Asks Its Nationals To Defer Travel To Maldives

Concerned India Asks Its Nationals To Defer Travel To Maldives

India on Monday issued a travel advisory, warning to its citizens to defer all non-essential travel to the Maldives as President Abdulla Yameen imposed an emergency in the atoll nation following a Supreme Court order last week seeking the release of nine political detainees including former president Mohammed Nasheed.

The surprise judicial ruling last week has led to an increasingly tense standoff between the Supreme Court and the government of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, with protests spilling into the streets of the capital, Male, and soldiers in riot gear deployed to the parliament building to stop lawmakers from meeting.

The government has so far refused to comply with the court's orders and the embattled President Abdulla Yameen has said the directive on the opposition leaders should be revoked. "As referred to in the order, there is nothing preventing the prosecutor general from seeking a re-trial after the order has been implemented", the Maldives Supreme Court said in a statement.

A defiant government - which has since ordered police and troops to resist any attempt to arrest or impeach Yameen - said the court was not above the law.

Eva Abdulla, Member of Parliament, of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) describing the ordeal told ANI over the phone, "Absolute breakdown of law and order".

And this evening security forces loyal to President Yameen have stormed the Supreme Court, according to a spokesman for the lawmakers.

The United Nations, Australia, Britain, Canada, India and the USA had welcomed the court's decision, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the weekend called for "restraint".

In addition to ordering the release of the political prisoners, the court also reinstated 12 legislators who had been ousted for switching allegiance to the opposition.

Police were also dispatched to the Supreme Court.

This was despite an appeal by countries like India and the USA, besides the European Union and the United Nations, urging Yameen's government to follow the court ruling.




The Supreme Court ruled that the political leaders' guilty verdicts had been politically influenced.

A statement from the President's Office said that Yameen had declared 15 days of state of emergency, starting Monday, and during this period, though certain rights would be restricted, general movements, services and businesses would not be affected.

This is the second time Yameen has declared a state of emergency. This, he said, sets risky legal precedents.

"The reason for the declaration is that the Supreme Court's ruling was obstructing the functioning of the government", presidential aide Azima Shukoor said on national television.

Rights group Amnesty International denounced the government's "appalling track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition".

Prez Adudullah Yameen's move gives sweeping powers to security forces. Yameen was elected in 2013 and is up for election this year, but remains virtually unopposed as his political opponents have been jailed or exiled.

He urged the court to "review the concerns" of the Government.

In 2016, Nasheed also sought political asylum in the United Kingdom after travelling there on medical leave from prison.

The crisis, which has included repeated rounds of clashes between police and opposition protesters, began when the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that that all politicians opposed to Yameen, including Nasheed, be released.

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