India wishes to see stable, peaceful Maldives: MEA

ANI | Updated: Feb 02, 2018 17:23 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 2 (ANI): Reacting to the ongoing political turmoil in the Maldives, India on Friday said that it wishes to see stability and peace there.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement, "We have seen last night's order of Supreme Court of Maldives releasing all political prisoners. In the spirit of democracy and rule of law, it is imperative for all organs of the Govt. of Maldives to respect and abide by the order of the apex court."

"We also hope that the safety and security of the Indian expatriates in the Maldives will be ensured by the Maldivian authorities under all circumstances. As a close and a friendly neighbour, India wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives. We are closely monitoring the situation," the statement added.

The Supreme Court of the Maldives acquitted former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, along with 12 other parliamentary members.

The court ordered the immediate release of high-profile prisoners and held that "the prisoners were free until fair trials could be conducted without undue influence".

The order given on late Thursday evening could be a major blow to the Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who has a tight grip on power, controlling institutions like the judiciary, police and the bureaucracy, Fox News reported.

The main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) hailed the ruling and described it as a "death knell for President Yameen's corrupt and criminal dictatorship".

Yameen took over as the president after winning a controversial runoff against Nasheed.

The Maldives was plagued by political unrest in 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.

The arrest led to widespread protests across the country and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of dissidents. The apex court had sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison.

In 2016, Nasheed also sought political asylum in the United Kingdom after travelling there on medical leave from prison.

Ten years ago, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy, after three decades of autocratic rule of former strongman and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. (ANI)