Two Indian-Origin AFP Journalists Arrested in Maldives
Maldivian opposition supporters scuffle with security forces officers during a protest demanding the release of political prisoners in Male, Maldives, on 2 February 2018.
Maldivian opposition supporters scuffle with security forces officers during a protest demanding the release of political prisoners in Male, Maldives, on 2 February 2018.(Photo: AP)

Two Indian-Origin AFP Journalists Arrested in Maldives


Indian Embassy Will Get in Touch With Local Authorities

In response to a query about media reports on the arrest of an Indian national in Maldives, the Official Spokesperson of MEA, Raveesh Kumar said: "We have received information about an Indian national, Shri Money Sharma, working as a journalist, who has been detained by the Maldivian authorities. We have asked our Embassy to get in touch with the local authorities to ascertain more details of the case."

“We note that China said Maldives Govt has ability to protect security of Chinese personnel & institutions there. Hope all nations play constructive role in Maldives, instead of the opposite,” the MEA said on reports of Maldives seeking support from China for Chinese investments' security.


Two AFP Reporters Arrested in Maldives

Two reporters of Indian origin, Atish Patel and Money Sharma, employed with AFP news agency, were arrested in Maldives earlier in the day.

According to Maldives police, the reporters have been handed over to Maldives Immigration to take action against them for working in Maldives against Maldives Immigration Act and Regulations.

The reporters are likely to face deportation.

(Photo: ANI)

Ali Zahir, an MP from Maldives said, “We don’t have freedom of press anymore. Last night one of the leading TV stations was closed. We call for their immediate release and restoration of democracy and rule of law.”


China Says International Community Should Play Constructive Role

The international community should play a constructive role in promoting stability in the Maldives, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a visiting envoy from the troubled Indian Ocean island state, China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

China supports the Maldives government to resolve disputes with all sides through dialogue, Wang told economic development minister Mohamed Saeed during a meeting in Beijing on Thursday, the ministry said in a short statement.

Raajje TV Protest Attack on Free Media, Suspends Broadcast

RaajjeTV suspended its broadcast after law enforcement refused to adequately address credible threats, and due to the utter lack of an environment conducive to unbiased and independent journalism.

(Photo: ANI)

Maldives Crisis is an Internal Issue, UN Should Keep Away: China

China opposed any UN mediation in the Maldives but called on the international community to provide "support and convenience" to the relevant parties to facilitate dialogue and resolve the country's political crisis.

Asked whether China is averse to UN mediation in the Maldives, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said:

I made myself clear. The international community should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Maldives and provide support and convenience for dialogue between the relevant parties and play a constructive role in this aspect. 
Geng Shuang, Spokesperson, Chinese Foreign Ministry 

Ahead of the UN Security Council meeting on 8 February to discuss the situation in the Maldives after UN officials offered to mediate all-party talks, Geng added that China is for supporting relevant parties in the island nation to resolve the crisis.

Opposition parties in the Maldives have alleged that China is backing President Abdulla Yameen who has permitted several high-profile Chinese-backed infrastructure projects and signed a controversial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China despite domestic opposition.


Judiciary Isolated and Helpless in Maldives: Former Attorney General

Former Attorney General of the Maldives and President of Maldives Bar Association Husnu Al Suood said on 8 February that the judges at the apex court were working under political pressure.

Three judges of the Maldives Supreme Court on 6 February revoked their 1 February order to release nine-high profile political prisoners.

Suood told ANI from Male, "I believe the top court has been compromised. Orders issued by the top court after the arrest of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed indicate that the rest of the judges are under political pressure".

Suood called for an immediate release of Saeed and demanded immediate international intervention to restore democracy in the country.

The international community must condemn the government actions against the judges. International organizations must immediately send fact-finding missions to Maldives.
Husnu Al Suood, Former Attorney General, Maldives, President of Maldives Bar Association

European Union Delegation Arrives in Male Amid Crisis

The EU delegation met the Maldivian opposition on 8 February
The EU delegation met the Maldivian opposition on 8 February
(Photo Courtesy: Rajj News)

Maldivian local media Rajje News reports that a delegation of the European Union has arrived in the Maldives. The report adds that the delegates met the opposition and heard out their concerns regarding developments in the country.

The report adds that the delegation also met leaders of President Abdulla Yameen’s ruling party.

No other details about the meetings have been revealed yet.

Maldives Chief Justice Was Assaulted & Threatened with Death Before Arrest: Lawyer

The Maldives' top judge received death threats before his arrest in a regime crackdown, his lawyer said on 8 February, ahead of a United Nations Security Council hearing on the island nation's political crisis.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed was warned he would be “cut into pieces” if he did not overturn a court order quashing convictions against high-profile political dissidents, his lawyer Hisaan Hussain said.

Saeed was arrested on 6 February as President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the honeymoon islands after refusing to obey the court order.

The top judge was accused of accepting bribes to impeach the regime leader, who has jailed most of his political opponents.

The Chief Justice was forcefully dragged on the floor from his chambers by uniformed security personnel in riot gear after he told them they were in contempt of court.
Hisaan Hussain, Lawyer 

He did not say who issued the threats.

Saeed is among the two top justices detained in the crackdown by Yameen, who has doubled down since the Supreme Court cleared his political rival Mohamed Nasheed, among other regime critics, of terrorism charges.


India was First Choice for Envoys, but Dates Were Unsuitable for PM Modi: Maldivian Ambassador

The Maldivian Ambassador to India, Ahmed Mohamed told PTI that the first nation President Yameen’s special envoys' planned and proposed to approach was India, but the suggested dates were not convenient for the Indian leadership. It mentions PM Modi leaving to the UAE, and the unavailability of the Indian leadership as the reasons for approaching China, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan instead.

India was in fact the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the president of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership.
Ahmed Mohamed, Maldivian Ambassador to India

"We understand the external affairs minister is out of country and the prime minister is leaving for UAE during the week," he added.

President Yameen has sent Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed to China and Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim to Pakistan in the wake of the crisis.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee is going to Saudi Arabia.

India defended this attack in a statement to ANI, stating that that they have not seen any real action on the concerns of democratic institutions and the Judiciary being undermined and that these issues need to be properly addressed. They added that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and PM Modi would also be away, and that the Maldives never clearly explained the objective of the visit.

France Calls on President Abdulla Yameen to Return Maldives to Normalcy

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in a tweet sought the swift return to normal functioning of institutions and restoration of Rule of Law in the country.


Maldivian President Yameen Sends Envoys to China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia Amid Crisis

ANI reported that Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Wednesday 7 February sent special envoys to three 'friendly nations'- China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Members of the Administration’s Cabinet, on the direction of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, will visit friendly nations of the Maldives and provide updates on the current situation.
Statement from President Abdulla Yameen’s Office

On Wednesday 7 February, the Minister of Economic Development, Mohamed Saeed, departed for China, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamed Asim, went to Pakistan.

Dr Mohamed Shainee, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, is scheduled to depart to Saudi Arabia on 8 February.

US calls on President Abdulla Yameen to Restore Constitutional Rights

The United States today called on Maldives President Abdulla Yameen to ensure the proper functioning of the Parliament and restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions in the country.

We are troubled by reports that Yameen has declared a state of emergency, which gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects, bans public gatherings, imposes travel restrictions, and suspends parts of the Maldivian Constitution.
Spokesperson, US State Department

Asserting that the US stands with the people of Maldives, the State Department spokesperson said Yameen, the army and police should respect the Maldives' international human rights obligations and commitments.

The US calls on President Yameen, the army, and police to comply with the rule of law, implement the Supreme Court’s lawful ruling, ensure the full and proper functioning of the Parliament, and restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions of Maldives
Spokesperson, US State Department

UN Rights Chief Calls on President Yameen To Lift Emergency Immediately

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Maldives government to immediately lift the state of emergency imposed two days ago, calling it to "an all-out assault on democracy".

The suspension of several functions of the judiciary and Parliament, and the restrictions on a series of constitutional rights, create a dangerous concentration of power in the hands of the President.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
President Yameen has, to put it bluntly, usurped the authority of the State’s rule-of-law institutions and its ability to work independently from the executive. What is happening now is tantamount to an all-out assault on democracy.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Maldives Supreme Court Judge Ill-Treated in Prison: Nasheed

The exiled former president of the Maldives accused authorities on Wednesday of mistreating a supreme court judge thrown into prison following the imposition of a state of emergency in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Judge Ali Hameed was being harshly treated, Nasheed said in a Twitter post. He was granted asylum by Britain after the Male government allowed him to leave jail for medical treatment abroad in 2016.

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 80, who was also arrested in the crackdown and sent to a prison island, had stopped eating, Nasheed added.

"I am told President Gayoom is not taking food, while Justice Ali Hameed has been ill treated," Nasheed said on Twitter, but gave no further details.

However, Dunya Maumoon, Gayoom's daughter and a minister of state in Yameen's administration, rejected Nasheed's comment about her father, telling Reuters: "I just visited my father. He is keeping well. Nasheed is just spreading rumours."

Also Read : ‘Maldives Being Sold to China’: Ex-Prez Nasheed Urges India to Act

Nasheed Responds to China, Defends India's Stance in Maldives

Responding to China’s statement asking Maldives to solve the crisis internally, former President Mohamed Nasheed said trying to solve matters internally would escalate chaos in the country. He also went to the extent to clarify that India has always played the role of liberators whenever Maldives was in crisis.

Also Read : India Not an ‘Occupier But Liberator’: Maldives’ Nasheed to China

UN Asks Maldives to Uphold Rule of Law

UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed serious concern over the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives and asked the government led by President Abdulla Yameen to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Maldives to uphold the constitution and the rule of law, lift the state of emergency as soon as possible, and take all measures to ensure the safety and security of the people in the country, including members of the judiciary.
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson, UN Chief

Assistant Secretary-General of the UN for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca spoke by phone with the Maldives' Foreign Minister and reiterated the Secretary-General's serious concern about the unfolding situation in the country, in particular the arrest of the Chief Justice.

He asked the Maldivian government to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of all people in the country and to resolve the political crisis through all- party talks, which the UN stands ready to facilitate, Deputy UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Maldivian Opposition Disappointed at Lack of Help from India

Even as Chinese state media warned India against intervention in the Maldives political crisis, the opposition in the archipelago expressed disappointment at the lack of Indian intervention, TOI reported.

TOI quoted opposition leaders as stating that it was unfortunate that India had thus far not even bothered to send an envoy. The opposition added the allegation that Yameen may be acting under the influence of China. Abdulla Shahid, the former speaker of the Maldivian Parliament, told TOI:

India is seen here as a beacon of hope and democracy. 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, Maldives Parliament

Chinese Media Cautions India Against Intervention

Chinese state-run daily Global Times, in an editorial on 6 February "cautioned” India against “interfering” in the Maldives political crisis.

India has a strong desire to control South Asian countries. It regards the region as its backyard. New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavor by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers. New Delhi takes it for granted that it can openly intervene in their domestic affairs. 
Global Times Editorial

The editorial piece goes on to add that New Delhi has “no justification” to intervene in the Maldives political crisis.

Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Malé’s affairs...The Maldives’ sovereignty should be respected. The political unrest should be left to the Maldivian people to address. 
Global Times Editorial

Maldives Government Welcomes Court's Revision of Initial Ruling

The Maldives administration in a press release welcomed the Supreme Court’s revision of the 1 February ruling revoking the release of high-profile political prisoners including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The ruling had also declared that the Judicial Service Commission had no mandate over the Supreme Court Justices, overriding Article 159 of the Constitution which empowers the Judicial Services Commission to appoint, investigate complaints against, and give recommendations for dismissal of judges. This order has also been revoked.


India Expected to Follow SOP on Maldives, To Keep Troops Ready

India is expected to follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) that includes keeping the troops in readiness, government source told PTI.

India, which said it was "disturbed" over the situation in the archipelago, has already issued a travel advisory as part of the SOP but officials would not confirm one of its crucial aspects pertaining to keeping troops on standby.

Sources said troop movement has been seen at a key air- base in Southern India.

According to the SOP, the troops are kept ready to meet any eventuality, crisis or requirement for help, sources said, adding there is nothing unusual about such SOPs.

The Indian Navy patrols sea lanes around Maldives as naval cooperation between the two countries are robust.

Also Read : Maldives Crisis Spirals: Indian Tanks, Special Forces on Standby


Maldives Supreme Court Revokes Order to Release 9 Political Prisoners

Maldives Supreme Court revokes an order to release nine high-profile political prisoners, reported PTI quoting media reports.

Earlier, the Maldives government press release said that President Yameen had lifted the restriction or suspension of Article 145 (c) of the Maldives Constitution which states that the Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.

European Union Calls Emergency Blow To Fundamental Freedom

The European Union (EU) has released a statement on the state of Emergency declared in Maldives by president Abdulla Yameen, slamming the crisis and said that fundamental rights and freedoms of the population must be preserved, notably the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration.

Here is the full statement:

Statement of the European Union
Statement of the European Union

President Lifts Restriction on The Supreme Court's Authority

According to the Maldives government’s press release, President Abdulla Yameen has revised and issued a second amendment to the Presidential Decree concerning the State of Emergency that was declared on 5 February 2018.

In the revised Presidential Decree issued this evening, President has specified that from the restricted and suspended articles of the Constitution of Maldives during the state of emergency, the new Decree will lift the restriction or suspension of Article 145 (c) of the Maldives Constitution which states that the Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.

Disturbed By Declaration of Emergency In Maldives: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India is disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency in Maldives following the refusal of the government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives, reported ANI.

MEA also said that the arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern and that the Indian government is carefully monitoring the situation.

Indian Army on Standby Following Maldives Crisis?

The Indian army is on standby following state of emergency declaration in the Maldives, as reported by Maldives news organization Rajjee TV.

However, CNN-News18, quoting Army sources said that the Army hasn’t received any information yet and that it would be a political call.

Earlier, Former President Nasheed, whose release was the flashpoint for the Maldives political crisis, had tweeted out asking for India’s help.

Emergency Is To Investigate "This Plot, This Coup" of Supreme Court Ruling: Maldives Prez

Maldives president Abdulla Yameen said the emergency decree is to investigate "this plot, this coup" of Supreme Court ruling, reported The Associated Press.

Earlier, Maldives police arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and the Administrator of the Department of Judicial Administration.

In a Twitter message, the police said they had arrested Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed "for an ongoing investigation".

China Upgrades Travel Warning to Maldives, Asks Citizens to Cancel Plans

China upgraded its travel warning for its citizens visiting the Maldives for holidays, asking them to cancel their plans after an emergency was declared by embattled President Abdulla Yameen in the island nation whose economy relies heavily on Chinese tourists.

Following up on yesterday's travel advisory, asking Chinese citizens to not to travel to the Maldives, a favourite destination for locals, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang upgraded the travel alert, saying they should cancel their plans in view of spiralling political crisis there.

China is the number-one source of tourists for the Maldives. Chinese tourists constitute about 30 per cent of the Maldives tourist arrivals.

The Spring Festival holiday, which includes Chinese New Year celebrations is peak season for Chinese citizens to travel to the Maldives for tourism.

"In the light of the latest situation in Maldives Chinese Foreign Ministry adjusted the security alert level and asked the Chinese citizens to closely follow the local situation and not to travel to Maldives," he told a media briefing here.

If they have plans to go to the Maldives we advise them to cancel it. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the security of the Chinese citizens including the outbound tourists
Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman

Without directly commenting on the UN, US and India's criticism of the handling of situation by Yameen, Geng said, “We believe the Maldives government, political parties and people has the wisdom and the capability to deal with their current situation on their own.”

Former Vice President Urges President Yameen to "Stop Terrorising" Supreme Court

Maldives’ former vice president Mohamed Jameel Ahmed posted a tweet urging President Yameen to “stop terrorising” the Supreme Court, and urged him to release the judges and let Parliament function normally.

He also urged the international community to step in and take firm action to “restore democracy” to the Maldives.


Former President Mohamed Nasheed Asks For India's Help

Former President Nasheed, whose release was the flashpoint for the Maldives political crisis, has now tweeted out asking for India’s help. Will this result in another intervention from India, like Operation Cactus in 1988?

Nasheed, who is currently in Sri Lanka, also urged the United States to block financial transactions of the government led by President Abdulla Yameen.


Former President Abdul Gayoom Releases Video Ahead of Arrest

Ahead of his arrest, former President Abdul Gayoom put out a video on Twitter, stating that he had done nothing to warrant an arrest. In the video, he’s seen urging the citizens to “remain steadfast in their resolve,” and saying that he will not give up on his work.

I have not done anything to be arrested. I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve too. We will not give up on the reform work we are doing.
Abdul Gayoom, Former President, Maldives

US Urges President Yameen to Comply With SC Order

The US said it was "troubled" and "disappointed" by reports of declaration of state of emergency in Maldives and urged President Abdulla Yameen to comply with the rule of law and implement the Supreme Court ruling.

"The US is troubled and disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has declared a state of emergency," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

The US calls on President Yameen, the army, and police to comply with the rule of law, implement the Supreme Court ruling and the rulings of the criminal court, ensure the full and proper functioning of the Parliament, and restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions of the Maldives.
Heather Nauert, Spokesperson, US State Department 

She said Yameen, despite being elected in 2013 with the support of a broad coalition, has systematically alienated his coalition.

He has jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure, deprived elected MPs of their right to represent their voters in the legislature, revised laws to erode human rights, especially freedom of expression, and weakened the institutions of government by firing officials who refuse orders that run contrary to Maldivian law and its Constitution.
Heather Nauert

Two Supreme Court Judges Arrested

Maldives police arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and the Administrator of the Department of Judicial Administration.

In a Twitter message, the police said they had arrested Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed "for an ongoing investigation". They gave no details about the allegations or charges against the two.

ANI shared a photo of the Maldivian Chief Justice being taken away in a police vehicle.

A photo showing the vehicle carrying the Chief Justice.
A photo showing the vehicle carrying the Chief Justice.
(Photo: ANI)

President Abdulla Yameen on 7 and 8 February sent special envoys to three 'friendly nations' – China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Former president Nasheed has asked for India to step in and help. Chinese state-run daily Global Times warned India against intervention on 7 February. The UN and US have both called on Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen to restore Constitutional rights and declare an immediate end to the state of emergency.

Three Maldives Supreme Court justices on Tuesday, 6 February, annulled their own order to free a group of imprisoned Opposition politicians after two of the court's justices were arrested amid a political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The new ruling came as President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom moved to assert his power over the court, declaring a state of emergency and ordering security forces to raid the court compound where the justices were arrested.

The President had defied an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court which revoked terrorism charges against nine leading opposition figures including the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed and ordered them to be freed.


  • Maldivian President Yameen sends special envoys to ‘friendly nations’ China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia
  • Maldives Supreme Court revokes earlier order to release nine high-profile political prisoners
  • Former President Mohamed Nasheed asks India to send an envoy to end the political crisis
  • Police arrest former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on charges of bribery and attempting to overthrow the government
  • President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom moved to assert his power over the top court, declaring a state of emergency and ordering security forces to raid the court compound where two SC justices were arrested

Also Read : What Is the Maldives Crisis & Why Is The Govt Fighting its Court?

UK Foreign Secy Boris Johnson 'Gravely Concerned'

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a press release saying his government was gravely concerned about the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives.

He also urged President Yameen and the Government of Maldives “to peacefully end the state of emergency, restore all articles of the constitution, take immediate steps to implement in full the order of the Supreme Court, and to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament.”

General Movements and Services Won't be Affected, Despite Emergency: MFA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives tweeted that despite a state of emergency being imposed in the country, normal life would not be disrupted. The tweets added that transport and services would be operational without hindrances.

'Raajje TV' Shutdown Imminent, Signals Disrupted

Twitter accounts of a 24-hour TV station in the Maldives ‘Raajje TV’ were hacked and their broadcast signals interrupted in several islands.

The TV channel tweeted saying they have no security but they ‘will continue to work for the people of the Maldives till the last minute’.


Maldives Police Arrest Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Maldives police arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, his spokesman Abdul Aleem told Reuters.

Gayoom, who is Yameen's half-brother and ruled the country for 30 years until 2008, was arrested at his residence, along with his son-in-law. Yameen has defied a Supreme Court ruling ordering jailed opposition leaders to be freed, including Gayoom's son Farish, an opposition lawmaker.

Gayoom was arrested on charges that include bribery and attempting to overthrow the government, his lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, said on Twitter. Gayoom was the archipelago's president from 1978 to 2008.


Maldives Security Forces Break into the Supreme Court: Court Spokesman

Maldives security forces broke into the Supreme Court on Monday, court spokesman Faisal Adam told Reuters, hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency for 15 days, in an escalation of a legal battle with the archipelago's top court.


India Issues Travel Advisory, US Urges to Respect Rule of Law

Following the announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued an advisory asking Indians to defer all non-essential travels to the Maldives due to the prevailing law and order situation.

The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. 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.

Also Read : Emergency Declared in Maldives, India Issues Travel Advisory

The United States also called on the Maldives government and military to respect the rule of law after the emergency was declared.

"America stands with the people of Maldives. The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, and democratic institutions. The world is watching," the White House National Security Council said in a post on Twitter.

The US Department of State issued a statement slamming the state of emergency declared in Maldives.

China's foreign ministry also advised Chinese citizens to avoid visiting the Maldives until political tensions subside on the Indian Ocean archipelago.

China suggests that Chinese citizens who are preparing to go to the Maldives in the near term to postpone going until the situation on the ground stabilises.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Also Read : Maldives Crisis Deepens; India, US & China Issue Advisories


15-Day State of Emergency Declared in Maldives

The Maldives government declared a 15-day state of emergency Monday as the political crisis deepened in the Indian Ocean nation amid an increasingly bitter standoff between the president and the Supreme Court.

A surprise Supreme Court ruling, last week, ordering the release of imprisoned opposition leaders has led to growing turmoil, with President Yameen Abdul Gayoom lashing out at the court, opposition protests spilling into the streets of the capital, Male, and soldiers in riot gear being deployed to the parliament building to stop lawmakers from meeting.

The president's main rival urged people not to obey what he called an "unlawful order".

"This declaration is unconstitutional and illegal," former President Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, said in a statement. Nasheed, who lives in exile, was one of the opposition leaders that the court ordered freed.

The extent of the emergency order was not immediately clear.

After the state of emergency was announced on state television, Yameen, in a statement, said:

During this time though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.

Yameen, in a letter to the court, released by his office earlier on Monday, said the order had encroached on the powers of the state and was an "infringement of national security and public interest." He urged the court to "review the concerns" of the government.

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. A Supreme Court statement on Sunday said "there are no obstacles in implementing the ruling ... and that this has been informed to the Prosecutor General's office."

The Supreme Court ruled that the politicians' guilty verdicts had been politically influenced. The ruling has led to protests by opposition supporters urging the government to obey the order. Clashes have erupted between police and the opposition supporters. Soldiers have occupied the Parliament building to stop lawmakers from entering.

The United Nations and several foreign governments, including the United States, have urged the Maldives to respect the court order.

Nasheed has been living in exile in Britain since 2016 after being given asylum when he traveled there on medical leave from prison.

In addition to ordering the release of the political prisoners, the court also reinstated 12 lawmakers who had been ousted for switching allegiance to the opposition. When those lawmakers return, Yameen's Progressive Party of the Maldives will lose its majority in the 85-member parliament, which could result in the legislative body functioning as a rival power to the president.

Known for its luxury tourist resorts, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy 10 years ago after decades of autocratic rule by the current president's half brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

But the nation lost much of its democratic gains after Yameen, who has maintained a tight grip on power, was elected in 2013. He had been set to run for re-election, this year, virtually unopposed, with all of his opponents either jailed or exiled.

On Friday, Nasheed said he would mount a fresh challenge for the presidency, this year. Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison after he was convicted under the Maldives' anti-terror laws. The trial was widely condemned by international rights groups.

(With inputs from agencies)

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