Male, February 2 (Avas): The Maldives ruling party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) on Friday dismissed rumors suggesting that incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is set to leave the country as the country’s top court turned the turbulent politics in the archipelago on its head by ordering the government to immediately release all jailed political leaders including self-exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed.
PPM Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla was emphatic in saying that President Yameen would not leave the country.
He also said the Supreme Court order does not mean the end of the government stressing that President Yameen has the backing and support of the ruling party.
The Fonadhoo lawmaker also reiterated that the government would always respect court rulings but did not say when or if the Supreme Court order would be enforced.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
The others named in the order included former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb’s brother in law Hamid Ismail.
The court said the questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrants a re-trial and ordered the authorities to immediately free the jailed leaders until a court of law sentences otherwise.
The court has ordered relevant authorities to strictly enforce the order and warned legal action against anyone who refuses to obey the court order.
The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country’s electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.
Govt Yet To Implement Order
The government thus far has refused to enforce the order insisting that it needs to validate the Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court however had published the court order on its website with the signatures of the five judge bench to ‘validate’ the order.
Top opposition figures have called on the entire nation to join the celebrations to mark the end of ‘tyranny’. They had echoed calls for the immediate impeachment of incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
The united opposition supporters have gathered near the main Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) camp in the capital Male and are calling on the government to free the jailed politicians and comply with the court order.
India and UK Seek Release
Maldives’ international partners, including the US, India and the UK have welcomed the Supreme Court decision and urged the government to abide by the court order.
India on Friday said it was “closely monitoring” the volatile situation that has arisen in Maldives after the country’s Supreme Court overturned the convictions of political prisoners.
“In the spirit of democracy and rule of law, it is imperative for all organs of the Government of Maldives to respect and abide by the order of the apex court,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement, adding that India “wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives.”
The MEA also asked the Maldivian authorities to ensure the safety and security of Indian expatriates in the country.
The British High Commissioner for Sri Lanka and the Maldives has appealed to the Maldivian government to accept the court order and take “swift action” to implement it.
(The featured image at the top shows Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen with his party colleagues)