Maldives parliament approves extension of state of emergency by 30 days

Doug Mendoza
February 21, 2018

Yameen imposed the state of emergency on February 6 for 15 days, having defied a Supreme Court ruling after it quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders, and ordered his government to release those held in prison.

Hours after the stay order, parliament secretariat had revoked the invitations sent out to the dozen opposition lawmakers for the special sitting.

The Committee approved the decree, and well as the request for a 30-day extension to the State of Emergency, the report said.

Earlier, South Asian legislators expressed concern today about the political crisis in the Maldives as President Abdulla Yameen sought to extend a draconian state of emergency in the honeymoon islands.

Opposition legislators boycotted the parliamentary sessions on Monday when the matter was taken up, which led to those present forwarding the issue to Parliament's National Security Committee for further deliberation.

On February 2, the Maldivian Supreme Court acquitted former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and ordered the reinstatement of the 12 other parliamentary members.

"We are disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency in the Maldives following the refusal of the Government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives".

Massive protests had erupted in the island nation after President Gayoom refused to follow the Supreme Court's ruling to release the key political prisoners and reinstate the 12 MPs.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said: "It is our expectation that the Government of Maldives will not be seeking extension of the state of emergency so that the political process in [the] Maldives can resume with immediate effect".

Yameen has ignored the court rulings but stopped short of saying he would not obey them. They include Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first president elected in a free election, who is one of Yameen's main rivals.

The opposition said later that the emergency extension was illegal because there was no constitutionally required quorum in Parliament.

Ruling and opposition party leaders clashed over whether parliament's approval is required under the constitution to extend the state of emergency.

The state of emergency will now end on March 22.

Yameen has faced worldwide censure over his refusal to abide by the top court's rulings and his declaration of a state of emergency, described by the United Nations human rights chief as "an all-out assault on democracy".

Another maritime cooperation pact between China and the Maldives also raised hackles in India given its potential to jeopardize India's security interests.

The Maldives had its first democratic election in 2008, however, Mr Yameen is believed to have reversed numerous country's democratic civil liberties since being elected in 2013.

Other reports by GizPress

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