Envoy says Maldives will not extend state of emergency

16 march demonstrations

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — An emergency imposed in the Maldives after a court ordered the release of jailed politicians will be allowed to expire Thursday after allowing time for the government to investigate corruption allegations against the judges who issued the order, an envoy said.

The government “has no intention of extending” the emergency when its 30-day period expires, “barring very unusual circumstances such as widespread violence,” Mohamed Hussain Shareef, ambassador to neighboring Sri Lanka, told foreign journalists in Colombo on Monday night.

The Supreme Court on Feb. 1 had ordered several of the president’s jailed political opponents released because of due process violations during their trials. Clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters followed and Maldives declared an emergency that gave police sweeping powers, including making arrests and searching and seizing property and restricting freedom of assembly.

Rights groups and several foreign governments had urged the government to respect the order and had criticized the state of emergency.

The country’s traditional political alliances have been upended in recent years. Gayoom, now an opposition leader, is allied with former President Mohamed Nasheed, who unseated him in the 2008 elections. Nasheed, Yameen’s most prominent rival, lives in exile and is among the politicians freed by the now-annulled court order.

Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,000 islands. More than one-third of its 400,000 citizens live in Male, the crowded capital city. Tourism dominates the economy, with wealthy foreigners flown directly to hyper-expensive resort islands.

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Source URL: Google News

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