A day after he refused to abide by the Supreme Court's order to release political prisoners, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a 15-days State of Emergency in the country.
Yameen on Sunday refused to accept the Supreme Court order to release political prisoners and reinstate 12 MPs who defected to the opposition. Protests are being held across the country since President Yameen refused to follow SC's ruling.
The army was on Sunday put on high alert after Yameen refused to accept SC's order.
The Supreme Court order to restore the seats of 12 MPs who defected to the opposition would effectively reduce Yameen's party to a minority and expose him to the risk of impeachment.
All basic rights have been suspended. Security forces have sweeping powers to arrest and search: Eva Abdulla, Member of Parliament #Maldives— ANI (@ANI) February 5, 2018
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed had on Sunday claimed that he has been getting anonymous threat calls.
The government had earlier expressed "concerns" over the judicial order and resisted complying with it, but the court said there can be no excuses.
Dissidents must be released because their trials were politically motivated and flawed, the Supreme Court had said in a statement.
Former president and current opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed described the government's refusal to obey the Supreme Court as a "coup". Nasheed, who was controversially convicted of a terrorism charge and jailed for 13 years in 2015, urged police and troops to uphold the constitution. He has been in exile since 2016, when he left on prison leave for medical treatment. He is currently in Colombo, meeting Maldivian dissidents based in Sri Lanka.
The MDP - which is led by Nasheed - has expressed fears that any move by the government to resist the Supreme Court's order may trigger unrest in the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims.