Maldives SC Tightens Noose On President Abdulla Yameen, Says To Reinstate Dissident Lawmakers

| February 5 , 2018 , 12:18 IST

The Maldives Supreme Court on Sunday increased pressure on President Abdulla Yameen to comply with its order to release political prisoners and reinstate dissident lawmakers. The government had earlier expressed 'concerns' over the judicial order and resisted complying with it, to which the apex court that there were no excuses.

In an official statement, the Supreme Court said that the dissidents must be released as their trials were 'politically motivated and flawed' although a retrial may be allowed after their release.

"There is nothing preventing the prosecutor general from seeking a re-trial after the order has been implemented (and prisoners released)," said the Maldivian Supreme Court.

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The order of the Supreme Court on Thursday to restore the seats of 12 government MPs who defected to the Opposition, reducing Yameen's party to a minority, placed the President at the risk of impeachment. The order was met with protest by the ruling party, launching a crisis, pitting the judiciary against the president.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed, currently the leader of Opposition who had been convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to prison, termed the government's refusal of obeying the Supreme Court directive as a 'coup'.

The main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said that its MPs had tried to stage a meeting in defiance of the order suspending parliament but were forcefully pushed back by armed troops. Security forces have reportedly been deployed inside the Maldives parliament, known as the 'People's Majlis', since March last year when President Yameen had ordered the eviction of dissident lawmakers.