Maldivian president declares 15-day state of emergency, former president arrested

Updated 2018-02-06 09:13:05 Xinhua

Maldivian policemen patrol on a street. (File photo/China News Service)

Former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was arrested by a special Maldivian Police team in the early hours of Tuesday, hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency, local media reported.

Gayoom was arrested from his house, in the capital, along with his son in law who was also taken into custody. The two were arrested on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

In a message on twitter, Gayoom said his arrest was unlawful.

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

The announcement was read by Legal Affairs Minister Azima Shakoor on state television, flanked by Attorney General Mohamed Anil.

Yameen on Monday evening assured all Maldivians and the international community visiting and living in the country of their safety.

A statement from the President's Office said that Yameen had declared 15 days of state of emergency, starting Monday, and during this period, though certain rights would be restricted, general movements, services and businesses would not be affected.

Several conditions were placed by the president which were based on the rights preserved for the head of the state under the Maldives Constitution, local media said.

The government on Tuesday affirmed that the state of emergency declared would not affect tourists visiting the island nation.

In a statement, the Maldivian government said that all resorts and flights would continue to operate as usual and there would be no impact on hotels, airlines or any other company operating in the Maldives tourism sector.

"Further, this would have no impact on businesses operating in the Maldives and daily life," the government said.

"The government reiterates the Maldives has an impeccable record on tourist safety and safe guarding business interests. This unwavering commitment will not change during this brief period of State of Emergency," the government said," it added.

Maldives has been facing days of unrest after the Supreme Court issued a ruling last week to release top opposition political leaders including former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.

The court said in a brief statement that they must be freed until fair trials could be conducted without undue influence.

Yameen had earlier Monday written three letters to the Supreme Court explaining the challenges being faced in implementing the court order.

The Maldives attorney general on Sunday advised all law enforcement agencies in the country not to comply with any order that is in conflict with the Maldives' Constitution following reports that the Supreme Court may order to impeach President Yameen.

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