Male, February 18 (avas): The Maldivian parliament is scheduled to have a special sitting on Monday presumably to discuss the continuation or termination of the 15-day State of Emergency, which was clamped on the Indian Ocean nation on February 5.
President Abdulla Yameen had declared a 15 day State of Emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the Supreme Court to revoke the order to release top opposition leaders and take back 12 members of parliament who had been sacked earlier.
Though the state of emergency which would expire on Tuesday, the constitution states that parliament must decide on the emergency within 14 days if it is not in session at the time of the declaration.
The first sitting for 2018 was scheduled for February 5 and was to be addressed by President Yameen. But it was postponed indefinitely following the political turmoil.
The Parliament Secretariat has continued to stall on opening the parliament despite an outcry from opposition lawmakers.
The country’s military has since blocked off parliament even to lawmakers as the opposition continues to cry foul.
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.
The reinstatement of the 12 lawmakers disqualified by the country’s elections commission would mean that the united opposition would have parliament majority which has the power to impeach the president.
Since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including Gayoom, three lawmakers, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.
Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.
Police on Sunday had claimed that new evidence had been uncovered in connection to the plot adding that a total eight people had been arrested thus far over the case.
In the statement, police had claimed to have uncovered document evidence implicating the suspects to the case revealing that over U$ 200,000 along with over MVR150,000 were found in a bag that belonged to judge Ali Hameed.
Police also said judge Ali Hameed had purchased a flat with the bribe money and an unnamed company had “loaned” over US$ 2 million to the judge.
The latest accusations came after police had confirmed former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had bribed the judges into issuing the order in a bid to overthrow the government.
The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother’s government.
The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defense minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom’s lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb’s uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.
(The featured image at the top shows Maldivian security forces guarding parliament)