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Maldives state of emergency: judges block release of political prisoners

UTV | MALE – The Maldives’ highest court has revoked an order to release high-profile political prisoners a day after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and arrested two top judges on corruption charges.

The remaining three judges of the Supreme Court said they were rescinding their 1 February order to release the prisoners “in light of the concerns raised by the president”.

The court’s original decision, signed by all five judges, had quashed a terrorism conviction against former president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, among others.

The shock move was seen as clearing the way for Nasheed to end his self-imposed exile and return to the country to contest elections later this year.

But Yameen refused to comply with the order and instead declared the 15-day state of emergency, giving sweeping powers to troops to arrest and detain individuals while curtailing the powers of the judiciary and the legislature.

Maldives chief justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge were then arrested at dawn on Tuesday, after security forces stormed the court complex in the capital Malé. (Foreign Media)

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