Maldives declares state of emergency as troops storm Supreme Court

Send Envoy Military: Maldives Ex President Urges India Amid Crisis

Maldives Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested yesterday, hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the island nation.

Following the court ruling, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen ordered the security forces to take over the control of the apex court and arrest a judge along with the chief justice.

Mr Nasheed, who is now in Colombo in Sri Lanka, also urged the USA to block financial transactions of Mr Yameen's government. "Implementation of the Supreme Court ruling is - in its current form - incompatible with maintenance of public safety".

The whereabouts of the court's other two judges were not known yesterday.

Mr Nasheed, who was granted asylum by Britain after the government allowed him to leave jail for medical treatment overseas in 2016, sought Indian intervention to resolve the Maldives most serious political crisis in years.

The annulment of that order was announced in a court statement issued late Tuesday night after Yameen issued a state of emergency for the country that restricted citizens' rights and was internationally condemned.

The starting point of the turmoil was when the atoll nation's Supreme Court pronounced a judgement releasing key political prisoners, including Yameen's opponent and former president, Mohamed Nasheed, who is now in exile in Sri Lanka.

Nasheed was narrowly defeated in 2013 by President Yameen.

Responding to the state of emergency, the U.S. urged restraint on Monday.

The government did not comment on soldiers entering the Supreme Court building or on Gayoom's arrest, but the president's main rival, who lives in exile, urged people not to obey what he called an "unlawful order". The release of the politicians would have resulted in the party of President Yameen losing its majority.

When asked about whether India is considering Nasheed's request, an official said, "All I can say is that the government continues to monitor the situation".

On Saturday, President Gayoom had said he was ready to hold early presidential elections to allow voters to decide who should lead their country. "We must remove him from power", calling for the Indian envoy and military to be sent.

Yameen refused to comply and fired the country's police commissioner who said he would follow the court order. His son-in-law Mohamed Nadheem was also arrested.

Nasheed said last week after the court ruling that he would mount a fresh challenge for the presidency this year. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but later granted medical leave last year to travel to Britain, where he was granted asylum.