Crisis in the Maldives
Autocracy has emerged and the rule of law has been suspended in the vacation hot spot of the Maldives - the 1,192-island and 26-atoll vacation mecca, on the Arabian Sea, in the Indian Ocean, and not in the Pacific Ocean as was cited on this Blog recently.
The Chief Justice of the nation's Supreme Court along with another judge have been detained by the government of President Abdulla Yameen, who has refused an order by the court to release political dissidents from jail.
President Yameen has been embroiled in corruption and human rights issues. But current matters came to a broil last Friday, when the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the 2015 conviction and 13-year sentence of former President Mohamed Nasheed. In the same ruling, the court ordered the release of opposition members and political dissidents in the Maldives.
Yet, in clear defiance of the court and expressive of his assumed autocratic role, President Yameen, over the weekend, ordered his security forces not to release the prisoners, even though the country's police commissioner attempted to abide by the court order, but he was fired instead.
Yesterday, President Yameen declared a state of emergency and the army has been ordered to resist any attempt to impeach or to remove the president. Instead, Yameen's forces have detained the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court along with another judge.
According to the BBC-News, Yameen in a televised address to the island-group nation that lies southwest of both India and Sri Lanka, alleged that judges were plotting a coup against him. "I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges," he claimed.
Exiled former president Nasheed, now residing in Sri Lanka, has asked India to help release political prisoners on the Maldives and the United States (US) to curb the nation's leaders' financial transaction.
Maldives, with a 392,709 population, gained independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1965. Nasheed resigned the presidency back in 2012 following protest for reforms and following the arrest of a judge. Since Yameen gained power, rights issues and corruption have become major concerns. After the international community sounded the alarm over rights issues, Yameen withdrew the Maldives from the Commonwealth of nations.
Now the constitutional crisis with Yameen acting in a autocratic role threatens the nation's vital tourist industry as assistance is sought from India and the US to return the popular vacation destination to the rule of law.