MEA advises Indians to postpone all non-essential travels to Maldives

Opposition supporters outside the Supreme Court in Male after Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency

MEA advises Indians to postpone all non-essential travels to Maldives

The Supreme Court's shock decision last week to order the release of political dissidents and quash the conviction of exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, among others, sparked the crisis.

The constitutional rights suspended by president Yameen effectively quashed any moves by the opposition to impeach him while also stripping the Supreme Court of any authority. The whereabouts of the court's other two judges are not clear.

Yameen officially announced that the Maldives was in a state of emergency for the duration of 15 days starting on Monday night, Xinhua reported.

Maldives Supreme Court late Tuesday rescinded its landmark ruling ordering the release of as many as nine political dissidents including self exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

India, the United States and UK have been urging President Yameen to honour the rule of law and free the detainees.

In the wake of emergency being declared in the Maldives, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday advised citizens to defer all non-essential travels to the country and urged expatriates to remain on alert due to the recent developments.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the opposition, was also detained at his home.

Earlier in the day, Yameen said in a televised address that he was left with "no choice" but to declare an emergency in order to hold judges accountable and to "find out how thick this plot, this coup was".

The Maldives has been in a state of turmoil since 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.

Shortly before his arrest he sent a message on Twitter saying a large deployment of police had surrounded his house: "To protect me or to arrest me?"

Yameen has been president since 2013. Gayoom's son, Faris, is also one of the jailed opposition figures ordered freed by the court. Gayoom, the half-brother of the country's former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has crushed the Opposition in the Maldives by targeting high-profile leaders. President Yameen accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the emergency is to investigate this plot. Nasheed later fled to Britain and received asylum.

Officials say the court has not properly responded to a series of letters citing problems with implementing the order, including that the cases against the political prisoners are at different legal stages.

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