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Maldives News Alert

Maldives: Former president arrested amid political turmoil February 5 /update 3

Maldivian government arrests former president and declares 15-day state of emergency amid political turmoil February 5; continued political unrest expected in the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/5/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/7/2018, 11:59 PM (Indian/Maldives). COUNTRY/REGION Maldives
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Event

On Monday, February 5, the Maldivian Government declared a 15-day state of emergency, as political tensions remain high in the country. During Monday evening (local time), Maldivian security forces arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (who held office from 1978 to 2008). Hours later, security forces detained two Supreme Court judges and the chief judicial administrator. According to local sources, multiple protests were reported on Monday near the Parliament building in Malé.

Heightened political tensions are expected to continue in the Maldives in the near-term; related protests and demonstrations and consequent transportation disruptions are possible in Malé in the coming days.

Context

Current Maldivian president, Abdulla Yameen, has refused to abide by a Maldivian Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday, February 1, stipulating that his government immediately release a group of jailed opposition figures. According to the Supreme Court's ruling, the trials against former President Mohamed Nasheed (who held office from 2008 to 2012), and the other leaders, violated the constitution. The court also ordered a retrial for Nasheed and reinstated 12 members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to parliament, effectively giving the political opposition a majority. MDP supporters rallied at the party's headquarters in central Malé on February 2 to celebrate the ruling. Minor clashes between the demonstrators and police officers were reported, and security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowds. Opposition supporters also called for President Yameen to resign. The political opposition has accused Yameen of using his attorney general and the country's security forces to "cling onto power."

Maldivian army soldiers surrounded and shut down the parliament building in Malé on February 4 after the political opposition called for parliament to remove the Maldivian attorney general and chief prosecutor. Security forces also arrested two opposition members of parliament (MPs) at Malé International Airport (MLE) on bribery charges around 12:00 (local time) on February 4 after they had returned to the country from exile.

Advice

Individuals in the Maldives, particularly in Malé, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.