Maldives leader orders arrests of Supreme Court judges

The president of the Republic of Maldives is accusing the country’s Supreme Court of plotting a coup to overthrow the government amid ongoing political turmoil.


President Abdulla Yameen’s charge comes after he called for a state of emergency Monday amid protests for the government to release opposition leaders from prison after the Supreme Court said their trials were politically motivated.
After Yameen’s declaration, police arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Hameed.

Tuesday, Yameen accused the chief justice and the high court of pushing for his impeachment from office.

“The constitution clearly states how a president can be impeached. The Supreme court has no authority to do so,” Yameen said. “But when the chief justice were pushing for these things beyond his mandate or jurisdiction, we had to take it seriously. We had to find out why.”

The president said the “entire judiciary” could be compromised against the government.

“We needed to find out if there was any link between the sudden change in the mentality of the chief justice and his new found riches. No one is above the law. Not even judges. I had no other choice. No other way to save the nation,” he added.

After the state of emergency was called, security forces were allowed to make arrests, public gatherings were banned and soldiers were posted at the doors of opposition buildings.

“I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges,” Yameen said. “We had to find out how thick the plot or coup was.”

Former President Mohammed Nasheed called from exile for other countries to intervene in the political crisis.

On Twitter, Nasheed asked India to send military assistance and for the United States to stop financial transactions of Maldives leaders.

The U.S. National Security Council said it stands “with the people of Maldives.”

“The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression, and democratic institutions,” The council said on Twitter. “The world is watching.”

Nasheed has called for Yameen to be removed from power.

“Maldivians have had enough of this criminal and illegal regime,” Nasheed said. “President Yameen should resign immediately.”

By Sara Shayanian