Maldives chief justice threatened, President Yameen rejects court order

ANI | Updated: Feb 05, 2018 01:05 IST

Dubai [U.A.E.], Feb. 05 (ANI): In a big blow to democracy and civilian rule in the Maldives, President Mohammed Yameen  has put the army on alert and refused to follow the orders of the Supreme Court to reinstate sacked 12 opposition Members if Parliament or allow the release of other detained prisoners.

Earlier on Sunday, Chief Justice Hassan Saeed rejected the government's petition for review, saying the latter has to first implement the apex court's order and only then seek a review.

With the political crisis in the Maldives showing no signs of abating, the chief justice has reportedly also received threats to his life via anonymous telephone calls.

Ahmed Mahloof, spokesperson of the joint opposition, told ANI over phone, "We are deeply worried that the security of the chief justice and other judges has been withdrawn. The government should stop intimidating the judges. President Yameen is threatening the judges using the security forces. It is a threat to democracy as we have been always calling for an independent judiciary".

Fearing for his life, the chief justice has taken shelter in the Supreme Court and will be spending the night there. Along with him are Justice Ali Handed and Judicial Administrator Hassan Saeed.

During the day, police forcibly broke into and entered the house of Hassan Saeed while he was in court, breaking his house lock.

Eva Abdullah, a member of Parliament told ANI, "We are seeing escalation of crackdown, and are very fearful of increased unrest. When the attorney general and the chief of defense openly defy the Supreme Court, we are in unprecedented territory".

She added, "President Yameen's refusal to implement the ruling puts him outside his constitutional mandate. He is now ruling unlawfully".

Ali Zahir, deputy leader of the Adalat Party, said, "Yes, I have learnt that the Supreme Court judges are getting life threats. Perhaps, there is an atmosphere of absolute fear and no hope for democracy or rule of law. Furthermore, the nation is heading for a dictatorship as the acting police commissioner, the chief of the defence forces and the attorney general have said they will not abide by the court's orders."

On Sunday evening, opposition Members of Parliament held a joint meeting and decided to lead a massive protest against President Mohammed Yameen.Demanding justice and a return of the rule of law, they called for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Abdullah Riyaz, a former Commissioner of Police said, "People of Maldives are demanding the President to step down. We don't have faith in him because he did not respect the constitution and judiciary".

An absolute fear has gripped the island, in anticipation of a major showdown. (ANI)