Maldives Army Seals Off Parliament, Arrests Lawmakers

Maldives Army Seals Off Parliament, Arrests LawmakersMaldives Army Seals Off Parliament, Arrests Lawmakers

Security forces in the Maldives have sealed off the country’s parliament and arrested two opposition lawmakers amid a deepening crisis over President Abdulla Yameen’s refusal to free jailed politicians.

Soldiers in riot gear surrounded the parliament building in Male on Sunday soon after the opposition petitioned the parliament to remove the island nation’s attorney general and its chief prosecutor, Al Jazeera reported. 

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the parliamentary leader of the opposition, accused the pair of breaking the law by failing to act on a Supreme Court verdict overturning “terrorism” convictions against nine dissidents, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed. 

The top court’s ruling has plunged the Maldives into fresh political turmoil and dealt a major blow to Yameen, who is accused of corruption, misrule and rights abuses. He denies the allegations. 

The verdict also gave the opposition a majority in the 85-member parliament as it reinstated 12 members of parliament who were stripped of their seats last year.

But two of the 12 were arrested at the airport on Sunday, shortly after they returned to the Maldives after months in exile.

Abdulla Sinan and Ilham Ahmed were detained on charges of bribery, a police spokesman told Al Jazeera. 

Solih condemned their arrest in a statement. 

“We call on the police to release the MPs immediately, and to stop following unlawful order, to stop obstructing the lawful mandate of parliamentarians,” he said. 

“In a desperate attempt to cling onto power, President Yameen has illegally overrun the state: his Attorney General has illegally assumed the powers of the apex court, while the military has overrun the legislature,” he added.  

The motion to remove Attorney General Mohamed Anil came hours after he accused the Supreme Court of trying to impeach the president.


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