Maldives cancels football league amid state of emergency

ANI | Updated: Feb 10, 2018 15:23 IST

Male [Maldives], Feb 10 (ANI): The Maldives has cancelled its annual football league after a state of emergency was imposed by embattled Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen last week.

Ahmed Mahloof, a Member of Parliament of the Maldives and the spokesperson of Joint Opposition, said in a tweet, "#Maldives football league is postponed due to #StateOfEmergency.Ex President @maumoonagayoom & many more including Chief Justice is arrested.2 @AFP reporters including an indian was arrested yesterday.@FIFAcom & @theafcdotcom should reconsider the match on tuesday @bengalurufc"

According to latest reports, the charity shield football match, consisting of two teams- New Radiant FC and TC Sports Club, was scheduled for February 6, kicking off the opening season of the league.

The Football Association of Maldives (FAM) had promoted the match through various marketing and communication mediums on last Monday. However, the very same day, Yameen imposed a state of emergency in the country.

The association had not disclosed the pushed-back date for the match.

Though the season kick-off match has been postponed, TC Sports Club is likely to face-off with Bengaluru FC on February 13.

Two journalists, an Indian and a British national of Indian origin, were on Friday arrested in the Maldives under State of Emergency decree for national security purposes.

Money Sharma from Punjab and Atish Ravji Patel from London were reporters, who were employed with Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

Mahloof, said, "The government is scared that the world would know what's really happening in the Maldives."

"We don't have freedom of press anymore. Last night, one of the leading TV stations was closed," Ali Zahir, Deputy Leader of Adhaalath party, told ANI.

After spending two days at Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre, former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was on Thursday night transferred to Maafushi Prison, an hour away from Male.

The estranged half-brother of President Yameen, who is charged with bribing lawmakers, exerting undue influence on the judiciary, conspiring to illegally stage a coup, and inciting violence and calling the security forces to revolt against the government, was arrested on February 2, Maldives Times reported.

Gayoom was arrested from his home in Male shortly after the Maldivian President on Tuesday night declared a state of emergency for 15 days. He has denied all the charges against him.

Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who was serving a 33-year jail term for orchestrating a plot to assassinate Yameen, was also transferred from Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre to Maafushi Prison following the Maldivian SC's ruling.

A major TV station in the Maldives, RaajjeTV has shut down its broadcast after coming under immense political pressure and threats of attacks.

Last Monday, Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by the security forces after Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country.

The arrests indicated that the crackdown on the opposition intensified. The country's National Defence Force also stormed inside the Supreme Court (SC) premises in Male last week.

The Maldivian capital remained tense as opposition leaders across were being rounded up and placed under detention as Yameen, who has been refusing to obey SC's orders directing him to release nine prominent leaders from prison, has given sweeping powers to security forces.

Last week, the Maldivian Supreme Court acquitted former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldivian Vice President Adeeb and ordered the reinstatement of the 12 other parliamentary members. (ANI)

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