Maldives top court's U-turn: revokes order to release political leaders


State of Emergency was Declared in the Maldives

Three Maldives Supreme Court justices on Tuesday annulled their own order to free a group of imprisoned opposition politicians after two of the court's justices were arrested amid a political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

Meanwhile, Nasheed, who was granted asylum by Britain after the Male government allowed him to leave jail for medical treatment overseas in 2016, sought Indian intervention to resolve the nation's most serious political crisis in years.

The announcement came a day after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and arrested two Supreme Court judges.

"The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the government of India", the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Yameen's office released a statement saying his government "welcomed the Supreme Court's revision". "We are asking for a physical presence", Nasheed tweeted.

And in a televised address, Mr Yameen said: "This is not a state of war, epidemic or natural disaster".

India said on Tuesday said it is "disturbed" by the declaration of emergency in Maldives amid the face-off between the government and the Supreme Court even as it looks at contingency measures with a range of options to deal with the evolving situation in the island nation.

"The US is troubled and disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has declared a State of Emergency, which gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects, bans public gatherings, imposes travel restrictions, and suspends parts of the Maldivian Constitution..." The arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern.

His lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, said Gayoom faced charges including bribery and attempting to overthrow the government. Mr Gayoom is the current president's half-brother.

The UK's Foreign Office said British nationals in the capital, Male, should "exercise caution and avoid any protests or rallies", but that outlying islands and resorts - and the global airport - were not affected. Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the opposition, was also detained at his home.

Under the emergency state Yameen had originally suspended as many as 20 constitutional rights for the duration along with the criminal procedure Act and several articles of the judicature Act.

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