02/07/2018, 10.13
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Maldives, Supreme Court U-turn after judges arrest

The state of emergency remains in the country and about twenty constitutional rights are suspended. The remaining three judges revoke the release of political opponents. China, the US, India and the United Kingdom invite their citizens not to travel to the nation.

Malè (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Maldives Supreme Court has withdrawn its decision to release nine political opponents, including exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed. The u-turn was issued by the three remaining judges of the supreme body, after the arrest of President Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed, now hospitalized in critical conditions, perhaps due to an illness following his imprisonment. The current president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, congratulated the Court and declared a "victory".

The three judges issued a statement in which they state that the release order has been revoked "in light of the issues raised by the president". Yameen yesterday appeared on television claiming to want to investigate a "coup" against him and that he had "no choice but to investigate the judges" removed.

Meanwhile, the state of emergency remains in the country with the suspension of about twenty constitutional rights. The Parliament sessions have been indefinitely interrupted. The parliamentarians, in fact, if gathered, could vote the impeachment against the head of state.

The situation precipitated last week, when judges unanimously ruled in favour of the release of opponents belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (Mdp) and the reopening of their trials. Furthermore, they defined the sentence in the trial that led Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in 2008, to condemnation of terrorism as "unconstitutional". The latter, after the unexpected verdict, was preparing to return to the capital and compete in the presidential elections scheduled for the end of the year.

With the state of emergency in force, the police can make arrests without having to specify the reason and public rallies are banned.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition have called for the intervention of the international community. The United States has expressed concern about the ongoing events. China, the United Kingdom, India and the US have issued travel warnings and invited their citizens not to participate in protests or rallies. In the Maldives, the tourist season is in full swing. The sector has an annual turnover of about 2.7 billion dollars (2.2 billion euros).

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