Male, February 7 (Avas): Maldives Supreme Court late Tuesday rescinded its landmark ruling ordering the release of as many as nine political dissidents including self exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and justice Ali Hameed, the remaining three judges rescinded the court’s ruling to release the political leaders accepting the concerns raised by President Yameen in the letters he had sent to Chief Justice Saeed hours before State of Emergency was declared.
The move comes after President Yameen had accused that the Chief Justice had been bribed to issue the court order in a bid to overthrow the government.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of as many as nine people and also prohibited the judicial watchdog from probing any case against the top court bench.
President Yameen had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed after the apex court rejected the government’s ‘legal and judicial’ concerns over the order.
Under the emergency state Yameen had originally suspended as many as 20 constitutional rights for the duration along with the criminal procedure Act and several articles of the judicature Act. However, earlier Tuesday he had amended the declaration to all but suspend Article 48 of the constitution which specifies the rights on arrest or detention.
The constitutional rights suspended by president Yameen effectively quashed any moves by the opposition to impeach him while also stripping the Supreme Court of any authority.
In the few hours since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two top court judges including the chief justice 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Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before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.
The move comes after president Yameen had accused that the chief justice had been bribed to issue the court order in a bid to overthrow the government.
“I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges. We had to first suspend their authority and immunities. Because we had to find out how thick the plot or coup is,” president Yameen said in his address to the nation on live television.
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 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 top court had not rescinded the part of the order which quashed its anti-defection ruling ordering the country’s electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.
(The featured image at the top is that of the Malldives Supreme Court bench)