Maldives parliament approves extension of state of emergency by 30 days

From Reuters - February 20, 2018

MALE (Reuters) - Parliament in the Maldives on Tuesday approved a 30-day extension of a state of emergency sought by President Abdulla Yameen who cited an ongoing national security threat and constitutional crisis.

Countries including the United States, India and Canada along with the United Nations have urged Yameen to lift the emergency and restore normalcy.

Tour operators say hundreds of hotel bookings have been canceled daily since the 15-day emergency was imposed on Feb. 5 despite government assurances that all is normal in the resort islands, which are far from the capital.

Yameen imposed the emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison.

The emergency shall only apply to those alleged to have carried out illegal activitiesit shall not apply to otherwise law abiding residents of, or visitors to, the Maldives, a statement from Yameens office said on Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement on Tuesday saying Washington was disappointed by the extension of the state of emergency.

Since Feb. 5, the government has arrested the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on charges of attempting to usurp power.

Yameen has ignored the court rulings but stopped short of saying he would not obey them. He has jailed opposition members and fired two police chiefs who said they would uphold the court rulings.

Yameen took power in 2013 and his recent moves aim to consolidate power ahead of an election this year.


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