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Saturday 21 April 2018

Maldives leader says ‘coup’ investigated as supreme court judges arrested

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom called the court ruling “an obstruction of the ability of the state to function”.

A Maldives policeman charges with baton towards protesters after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency (AP)
A Maldives policeman charges with baton towards protesters after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

The president of the Maldives has said the country’s state of emergency was imposed to investigate “this plot, this coup” related to a supreme court ruling which ordered the release of imprisoned opposition leaders.

Speaking on national television, President Yameen Abdul Gayoom said the court’s actions last week amounted to “an obstruction of the very ability of this state to function”.

Mr Yameen, who has rolled back a series of democratic reforms in the Indian Ocean nation during his five years in office, said the court had overstepped its authority in ordering the politicians to be released, and the order “blatantly disrupts the systems of checks and balances”.

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Policemen arrest a senior opposition leader after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency (AP)

The president spoke hours after Maldives security forces stormed the supreme court building, arresting two judges and later a top opposition politician, after the state of emergency was declared.

The exiled former president Mohammed Nasheed, the main political rival to Mr Yameen, has called on India to send an envoy — backed by its military — to free the imprisoned supreme court justices and opposition leaders.

The government announced a 15-day state of emergency on Monday night, giving it sweeping powers covering arrests, searches, the seizure of property and restrictions on freedom of assembly.

Press Association

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