18 July 2018 03:58 PM

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P.K.BALACHANDRAN | 4 FEBRUARY, 2018

Maldives in Crisis: Parliament Secretary General Resigns, 2 Re-instated MPs Held

P.K.BALACHANDRAN


MALE: The Secretary General of the Maldivian Parliament Ahmed Mohamed resigned on Sunday, AVAS website and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) confirmed on Sunday.

Although the Secretary General did not given any reason for his resignation, he had said earlier that the 12 MPs who were sacked but reinstated by the Supreme Court on Thursday could attend parliament now.

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen is not happy with the court’s order as he had sacked them for crossing the floor to the opposition ranks.

Meanwhile, two of the sacked MPs. Abdulla Sinan and Ahmed Ilham who had arrived from abroad were arrested at the airport.

They had come to attend parliament which was to open on Monday. But in the meanwhile the parliamentary session had been postponed indefinitely, in view of the ongoing political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile the website Avas reported that the government on Sunday revealed an imminent move by the country's top court to have President Abdulla Yameen arrested.

But the police and army insisted that such an order will not be enforced, the government said.

Attorney General Mohamed Anil flanked by the army and police chiefs said on Sunday that the government has received information that a Supreme Court order to arrest President Yameen is imminent.

However, the AG labeled the move as "unconstitutional" and the police and that the army would reject any order by the Supreme Court to have the President arrested.

The Chief of the Defense Force, Major General Ahmed Shiyam, said the army would only act in accordance with the laws and constitution, adding that it would follow the legal advice of the Attorney General.

"The army would not stand by and watch while the Maldives goes into a crisis. The army would not obey an unconstitutional order," Gen.Shiyam insisted.

The newly appointed police chief, Abdulla Nawaz, echoed the army chief's statement. The President had earlier in the week, sacked two police chiefs.

The latest development comes amid accusations that the opposition had bribed some of the judges in the Supreme Court bench to influence the ruling, which ordered the release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

The ongoing political standoff in the Maldives worsened on Sunday, after the police launched an investigation into Supreme Court chief Judge Ali Hameed and Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) chief Hassan Saeed over bribery allegations. Police have now launched a manhunt for the Director of Judicial Administration.

The latest development comes amid accusations that the opposition had bribed some of the judges on the Supreme Court bench to influence the ruling ordering the release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Maldives plunged into political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders. The court had also ordered that the 12 parliamentarians, who had earlier been sacked for crossing the floor to the opposition side, be reinstated because their sacking was illegal.

The coming back of the twelve MPs to parliament would enable the opposition to have the numbers required to impeach the President. The government now believes that the judges had been bribed to pass the order.

More than two days after the Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.

The police crackdown came a few hours after a close aide of deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had accused the former President of cutting a deal with the Supreme Court bench, and implied the top-court was in cahoots with opposition over the recently issued rt order.

The activist made the accusations in an interview with pro-government Channel 13.

Shortly after the allegations, top officials of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) during a press conference early Sunday claiming that it had asked the police to probe the allegations.

Police claim to have received evidence in the form of a financial transaction made by Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed to purchase a flat from a real-estate project.

Police also accuse two family members of Supreme Court judge Ali Hameed of having links to the said transaction.

Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday vowed to have both the army and police chief arrested after the duo vowed to quash an 'imminent' move by the Supreme Court to have president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom arrested.

Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Anil flanked by the army and police chief on Sunday morning said the government has received information that a Supreme Court order to arrest president Yameen was imminent.

However, AG labelled the move as "unconstitutional" and the police and the army would reject any order by the Supreme Court to have the president arrested.

Chief of defence force Major General Ahmed Shiyam said the army would only act in accordance with the laws and constitution, adding that it would follow the legal advice of the attorney general.

"The army would not stand by watch while the Maldives goes into a crisis. The army would not obey an unconstitutional order," Shiyam insisted.

Newly appointed police chief Abdulla Nawaz echoed the army chief's statement.

The latest development in the ongoing political turmoil comes amid accusations that the opposition had bribed some of the judges on the Supreme Court bench to influence the ruling ordering the release of jailed political leaders including Nasheed.

More than two days after the Supreme court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, now in self-exile in the UK, said in an interview with opposition aligned Raajje TV that the heads of the security forces would be held accountable if they refuse to adhere to the constitution, labeling their defiance as an act of "treason".

The former President said their statements were a clear act to defy the constitution and rule of law.

Nasheed also urged the army and police to respect and abide by the top court orders, warning that the international community is closely monitoring the tense situation in the Maldives.

The former state head assured the people that the opposition would succeed in ending the autocratic government “within the next two days” and urged the people throughout the country to head to the capital Male to stand against the injustice of the government.

In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the Supreme Court order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.

The others named in the order included former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's brother in law Hamid Ismail.

The international community, including the UN, UK, US, India and Sri Lanka, have called upon the Maldivian government to comply with the court order.

The Supreme Court had said the questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrants a re-trial and ordered the authorities to immediately free the jailed leaders until a court of law sentences otherwise.

The court has ordered relevant authorities to strictly enforce the order and warned legal action against anyone who refuses to obey the court order.

The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.

The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.

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