The Maldives government has declared a 15-day state of emergency amid an increasing political crisis in the nation. The Indian Ocean country has experienced a bitter standoff as the president and the Supreme Court remain adamant with their decision. However, the US government has strongly condemned the 15-day decree, which is believed to impose a travel ban to the nation.
The soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building where the judges were said to be hiding, the moment the state of emergency was announced. According to the lawyer of the opposition leader Moumoon Abdul Gayoom, the security forces arrested his client accusing him of bribery and an attempt to overthrow the government. Gayoom was in power from 1978 to 2008 and is related to the Maldives’ current president.
Maldives former president Mohamed Nasheed called for India and other neighboring countries to send an envoy to help free the Supreme Court judges and other detainees that are being held by the government after the crisis fell on the Ocean archipelago nation. Nasheed, who currently resides in Sri Lanka, also urged the US to block any financial assistance to the government led by the President Abdulla Yameen.
The crisis deepened last week when the Supreme Court ordered the release of the imprisoned opposition leaders, with President Yameen Abdul Gayoom lashing out at the court. The opposition protests have spilled over the streets of the capital city and soldiers have been deployed to guard the government buildings including the parliament to stop the lawmakers from holding their meetings.
With the state of emergency, the government is empowered to make arrests, search and seize citizen properties, and limit the freedom of the assembly members. According to Heather Nauert, president Gayoom has isolated his coalition and imprisoned most of his major opposition figure since his election in 2013. Nauert called on the Yameen and the army to comply with the rule of law and restore the constitutional right of the Maldivians.