Maldives President declares state of emergency for 15 days

The move gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects, and comes amid a deepening political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation as Yameen refuses to comply with a Supreme Court order to release political prisoners.

Beleaguered Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has declared a 15-day state of emergency, his aide Azima Shukoor announced on state television Monday.

The move gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects, and comes amid a deepening political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation as Yameen refuses to comply with a Supreme Court order to release political prisoners.

The president has refused to comply with a court order to release political prisoners, despite growing international pressure and concern.

Shukoor read out the declaration on state television shortly after Yameen sent three letters to the judges asking them to reverse their decision.

India issued an advisory asking its citizens to defer all non-essential travels to the nation amid the prevailing law and order situation.

"Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings," advisory by the external affairs ministry said.

This is the second time Yameen has declared a state of emergency. He last took the step in November 2015 after an alleged attempt to assassinate him.

Officials said the president is required to inform the parliament about any declaration of emergency within two days, but the country's legislature has been suspended indefinitely by authorities.

The Supreme Court on Thursday had also restored the seats of 12 MPs who had defected from Yameen's party, effectively handing the opposition a majority in the 85-member parliament, making the president vulnerable to impeachment.

 

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