Maldives Opposition Urges India to Intervene to End Crisis

Maldives Opposition Urges India to Intervene to End CrisisMaldives Opposition Urges India to Intervene to End Crisis

An opposition leader in the Maldives has called on India to intervene after President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency amid a deepening political crisis in the island nation.

Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s exiled former president, urged neighboring India on Tuesday to send “an envoy, backed by its military” to free two supreme court judges and a former president who were arrested in the capital Male after the emergency declaration, Al Jazeera reported.

“We are asking for a physical presence,” Nasheed said in his appeal.

He also urged the United States to impose targeted sanctions on Yameen and his associates. 

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago, was plunged into turmoil on February 1 when its supreme court issued a shock ruling that overturned terrorism convictions against nine of Yameen’s opponents, including Nasheed, and ordered those in jail be freed.

Yameen defied the ruling and ignored calls from the United Nations, European Union, and foreign governments, including India and the US, to comply with it.

In a televised address on Tuesday, the president said he declared a state of emergency to investigate a “coup” against him.

Accusing Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed of corruption and judicial overreach, Yameen said the bench had deliberated on removing him and his attorney general, and discussed reinstating two police chiefs he had sacked over the weekend.

The emergency decree gave security forces sweeping powers to make arrests and curtailed the authority of the judiciary. 

Shortly after the emergency was announced on Monday, security forces stormed the supreme court building and arrested Saeed and Hameed. The remaining three judges on the top court bench were not detained. 

Yameen’s estranged half-brother, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has sided with the opposition, was also detained in the early hours of Tuesday.

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