Tourists visiting the Maldives will be waking up this Tuesday morning having the island country they are visiting facing a State of Emergency. The Maldives is known to lock up ministers, including in recent history two ministers of tourism. Usually at a time of crisis foreign visitors and holidaymakers don’t feel on their resort island what is going on in Male, the capital island.
The only risk can be entering and leaving the country and the operation of public services, including the International airport of the country.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has declared a 15-day state of emergency and security forces stormed the Supreme Court amid a deepening political crisis in the island nation. Husnu Al Suood, president of the Maldives Bar Association and a former attorney-general of the Maldives, tweeted that security forces locked up the Supreme Court with the judges inside. Soldiers and police in riot gear set up barricades and cordoned off the streets leading to the court building, according to witnesses.
Police also arrested former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at his residence on Monday on charges of trying to overthrow the government of his half-brother, according to a family member and a lawyer.
Legal Affairs Minister Azima Shakoor made the state of the emergency announcement on state television, giving security forces sweeping powers to make arrests, and curtailing the powers of the judiciary.
The move followed a ruling by the top court on February 1, which ordered the release of imprisoned opposition leaders. Yameen refused to comply with the order. The president was worried about being ousted by the court.
MPs called on the international community “to impress upon the government of Maldives the need to respect the rule of law, and implement last Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling that ordered the release of political leaders and the reinstatement of 12 opposition MPs”.
The United Nations, European Union, and several foreign governments – including India, the US and UK – have urged Yameen to comply with the Supreme Court’s order.
Rights group Amnesty International denounced the government’s “appalling track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition”.