Supreme Court over-stepped its power, says Maldives President

Male  : The political crisis in the Maldives deepened on Monday, as the president of the island nation said the Supreme Court had overstepped its authority in ordering the release of a group of imprisoned opposition leaders.

The surprise judicial ruling last week has led to an increasingly tense standoff between President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the Supreme Court, with protests spilling into the streets of the capital, Male, and soldiers in riot gear deployed to the parliament building to stop lawmakers from meeting. Yameen, in a letter to the court released by his office, said the order had encroached on the powers of the state and was an “infringement of national security and public interest.” He urged the court to “review the concerns” of the government. Earlier, Legal Affairs Minister Azima Shakoor said that “the government does not believe that the Supreme Court ruling to release the political prisoners can be enforced.”

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. A Supreme Court statement on Sunday said “there are no obstacles in implementing the ruling … and that this has been informed to the Prosecutor General’s office.” There was no immediate comment from Yameen’s main rival, exiled former President Mohammed Nasheed, who is among the prisoners ordered freed, report AP. The Supreme Court ruled that the political leaders’ guilty verdicts had been politically influenced.

The ruling has led to protests by opposition supporters urging the government to obey the order. Clashes erupted between police and the political opponents on Thursday and Friday.

Soldiers surrounded the parliament building over the weekend to stop lawmakers from entering. The United Nations and several foreign governments, including the United States, have urged the Maldives to respect the court order. Nasheed has been living in exile in Britain since 2016 after being given asylum when he traveled there on medical leave from prison.

China asks its citizens not to travel to Maldives

Beijing :  China on Monday warned its citizens not to tavel to the Maldives for holidays due to the political turmoil there, in a setback to beleaguered President Abdulla Yameen whose country’s economy relies heavily on Chinese tourists.

The Maldives has plunged into political crisis as the Supreme Court on Sunday asked Yameen to comply with its order to release political prisoners and reinstate dissident lawmakers.

This led to a tense standoff as Yameen, reports PTI.

“China is closely following the developments in the Maldives,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here asking the Maldivian government and the political parties to resolve differences through dialogue while maintaining national stability and social order. He, however, declined to join the calls by the United Nations, the US and India asking Yameen who is widely regarded as pro-China to implement the Supreme Court order. “What happened in the Maldives is Maldives’ internal affair. China supports the relevant parties in the Maldives to properly resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation and maintain national stability and social order,” he said.