Diplomacy Politics

Calls for Indian military intervention out of line: Maldives

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to bring down temperatures, the Maldives on Tuesday said there is no fear of military intervention from India. In a statement issued late evening, the country’s defence ministry said calls for Indian military intervention in the Maldives was out of line. The government said it believed “India would not act upon such calls.”
“The government views such actions to be irresponsible and intended to cause the citizens of both nations as well as other stakeholders, to cast doubt upon the excellent relationship India and Maldives have enjoyed for decades.”

The Maldives defence ministry statement was accompanied by two other statements issued by president Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s office and the foreign ministry, all intended to calm sentiments, while continuing to defend Yameen’s actions of the past few days, which saw him arresting and sending to prison 13 leaders including his half-brother, former president Gayoom.

India had asked for the Supreme Court’s decisions to be respected, a call reiterated by other key countries.

As the Maldives has descended into political instability after a Supreme Court ruling freeing political prisoners, Yameen has put everybody including the chief justice in prison and plunged the country into an emergency.

A second statement from the president’s office, also issued on Tuesday night, said, “the state would always work to ensure the independence and sovereignty of the nation.”

Yameen now accuses the Chief Justice of receiving bribes to deliver biased judgments, overthrow a legitimate government, bribe other judges, etc. It said the police had found evidence including money under his mattress. “The police have obtained documentary evidence that Abdulla Saeed had purchased goods and properties, which are beyond the means of a Justice’s income, locally and abroad. The Police also confirmed that the Chief Justice had compromised the Information Infrastructure of the Supreme Court.” The president’s statement said.

In a third statement, the Maldives foreign ministry insisted the “rule of law” would be followed in the Maldives. Amid international criticism over Yameen’s actions and calls to restore the rule of law, the government attributes the current crisis to a ‘foreign hand’. “This Constitutional crisis emerged from direct and deliberate interference by outside actors upon the judiciary.”

The statement objects to the UN statement of Monday — “Maldives objects to the characterizations and implications presented in the press release issued by UN Special Procedures on 12 February 2018. Nonetheless, the Government continues to welcome constructive engagement from international mechanisms and other stakeholders and will respond to their inquiries promptly.”

It paints the Chief Justice as the villain of the piece, trying to overturn established judicial norms, while the president is shown as being the upholder of the constitution — “Following the refusal of the Supreme Court to accept appeals by the Prosecutor General and then by the President regarding the above mentioned concerns, the President exercised every legal, professional and personal avenue to engage with the Chief Justice.”

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