Maldives lifts state emergency after 45 days, to charge ex-president, chief justice with bribery

Male: After 45 days, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Thursday lifted the state of Emergency stating that the situation in the atoll nation had returned to normal.

“Upon the advice of the security services and in an effort to promote normalcy, the President has decided to lift the state of Emergency,” Xinhua news agency quoted Yameen’s office as saying.

The government will also bring bribery charges against former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the chief justice, said a senior Maldives diplomat.

Yameen imposed a state of emergency on February 5 for 15 days to annul a February 1 Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. He later extended the state of emergency for another 30 days with parliament approval, a move challenged by the opposition.

Under the emergency, Yameen’s administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government. They have all rejected the charges.

“Unless something unusual happens, we should not have emergency by Thursday,” Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Maldives Ambassador for Sri Lanka told a Foreign Correspondents Association forum on Monday.

Recently, the exiled ex-President of Maldives Mohammad Nasheed has said that India ‘were not occupiers but liberators’ in a clear rebuff to China’s comments that India has a strong desire to control South Asia.

Nasheed, in a tweet said, “Saying ‘resolve things internally’ is akin to asking us to escalate the revolt, which can lead to chaos. Maldivians see India’s role positively: in ’88 they came, resolved the crisis, and left. They were not occupiers but liberators. This is why Maldivians look to India now.”

He also hit out at China and said that there interference in Maldives was akin to land grabbing.  

China hit back at former Maldivian president, dismissing his allegations that it had grabbed land in the Maldives as “groundless”.

It was the latest in a long line of statements Beijing has made regarding the ongoing political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Last week, China said other countries shouldn’t interfere in Maldives, and that the international community should “respect the sovereignty and independence” of the Maldives.

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