Two foreign journalists, one of them an Indian, who were arrested in Maldives on Friday for violating immigration rules, will be deported on Saturday, NDTV reported.
Both Money Sharma, a photojournalist from Punjab, and Atish Patel, a video correspondent of British-Indian origin, work for the news agency Agence France-Presse. They were handed over to the island nation’s immigration authorities after being arrested.
“We would like to note that although they [the two journalists] have been asked to leave Maldives, no other legal steps shall be taken against them,” IANS quoted the Maldives government as saying. “All foreign nationals intending to work in the country should obtain either a business or work visa and this applies to journalists as well.”
Meanwhile, in a statement late on Friday night, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said that Maldives’ democracy, progress and public security were in a vulnerable state, and urged the government of Abdulla Yameen Gayoom to revert to the rule of the law, Mihaaru reported.
He said the government’s refusal to comply with the Supreme Court’s order on February 1 had alarmed him. The top court had unanimously ordered the government to release nine prominent Opposition political leaders. Instead, on February 5, the government declared a 15-day state of emergency and within hours, the security forces had stormed the court premises and arrested two judges, including the chief justice.
Several countries have raised concern over the developments, and the United Nations has called it an “all-out assault on democracy”. On February 8, the Maldives government refused to meet diplomats from the European Union, Germany and the United Kingdom.
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