Amnesty International asks Maldives to release 'peaceful' protesters

ANI | Updated: Feb 28, 2018 19:40 IST

London [United Kingdom], Feb 28 (ANI): Amnesty International has called on the authorities in the Maldives to immediately and unconditionally release the people "arbitrarily" detained under the State of Emergency (SOE) and halt attacks on "peaceful" protesters.

Amnesty International's South Asia Deputy Director, Dinushika Dissanayake, in a statement, said, "Those who were peacefully protesting against the state of emergency should never have been detained in the first place and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The Maldivian government is using the state of emergency as a licence for repression, targeting members of civil society, judges and political opponents."

The statement added that the Amnesty International also documented the use of unnecessary and excessive force by the police against journalists and peaceful protesters, who have been gathering every night on the streets of Male, the capital, calling for the release of people arbitrarily detained and for the lifting of the state of emergency.

The Maldives is facing political unrest since President Yameen imposed emergency after refusing to implement a Supreme Court order of freeing imprisoned opposition leaders.

The state of emergency was extended on 20 February for a further 30 days, a move that was deemed "unconstitutional" by the Maldives Prosecutor-General. The vote to extend the state of emergency was forced through parliament in the absence of a quorum.

The political unrest in the country deepened further when the police used force to crack down on the Maldivian opposition leaders, who continued to hold anti-government protests.(ANI)

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