COLOMBO: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen lifted a 45-day State of Emergency on Thursday, after arresting dozens in that period, in a move that the opposition has accused of being politically motivated.
On Wednesday, the government charged senior political dissidents of trying to topple him last month.
"The announcement of a State of Emergency was precipitated by a Constitutional Crisis created by two Justices of the Supreme Court who conspired with political actors to violate both the Constitution and standard legal norms and practices in order to illegally overthrow a lawful Government, and whose actions constituted an imminent threat to national security," a statement from the President’s office said.
President Yameen imposed a State of emergency on February 5 for 15 days following a Supreme Court ruling that overturned convictions against nine opposition leaders, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed. He extended the state of emergency by another 30 days with parliament approval. The move drew severe criticism from the opposition and from countries including India and the US.
During Emergency Rule the Yameen administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Chief Justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator for “attempting to overthrow the government”. They have denied the allegations. Soon after, the remaining judges revoked the court order to reinstate 12 legislators, who had earlier been sacked for defecting to the opposition. President Yameen also stripped parliament of its power to impeach him. The media reported intimidation and threats while reporting the developments.
Following the announcement from Male on the State of Emergency being lifted, former President Nasheed said President Yameen now had "no need for it”. In a tweet he said: “He [Mr.Yameen] has overrun the judiciary and legislature, arrested hundreds unlawfully and introduced a “new normal” in the #Maldives - full dictatorship. We will not give up, we will fight and we will overcome.”
Ambassador of the United States of America to #SriLanka and #Maldives tweeted: “The #Maldives #StateOfEmergency is over, but politically motivated prosecutions continue, and many citizens remain in jail for exercising their fundamental rights. For #Democracy to return, independent and impartial justice and a fully functioning #Majlis [parliament] are essential.”