Maldives crisis: ex-President Nasheed seeks India's help

Maldives crisis: ex-President Nasheed seeks India's help

Nasheed, the Maldives first democratically elected leader, recently told the BBC that he plans to return from exile to contest elections. "President Yameen should resign immediately".

India intervened in the Maldives in 1988 to foil a coup against the government but it is considered unlikely they would heed Mr Nasheed's call for intervention this time. The chief justice and Judge Ali Hameed are in jail.

The army has been ordered to resist any move to impeach him.

With Maldives in turmoil following a face-off between the government and its Supreme Court, India is expected to follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) that includes keeping the troops in readiness, government sources indicated today.

The country's police commissioner said he would enforce the court's ruling and, in response, the government of President Yameen sacked him.

In a tweet, Nasheed, on the behalf of Maldivian people "humbly requested" for India to send envoy backed by military to release the arrested Supreme Court judges and other political prisoners including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The crisis, which has included repeated rounds of clashes between police and opposition protesters, began when the Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that that all politicians opposed to Yameen, including Nasheed, be released.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of opposition politicians.

On Twitter, Nasheed asked India to send military assistance and for the United States to stop financial transactions of Maldives leaders. Since then, Yameen's government has cracked down on dissent and jailed nearly all the political opposition, reversing several years of democratic progress.

In a video posted online, the ex-president addressed his supporters (in Divehi), saying that he had not "done anything to warrant arrest" while urging them to "remain strong".

Nasheed lives overseas after travelling out of the country in 2016 on prison leave for medical treatment. The government also suspended congress and declared any court order to arrest Yameen illegal.

The United Nations and several foreign governments, including the United States, have urged the Maldives to respect the court order. The Maldives has been mired in political unrest since Nasheed was ousted in 2012 and, in a controversial ruling, later sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges.

It said the judges, upon considering concerns raised by the president, had chose to "annul" a section ordering the release and re-trial of the nine people, seven of whom are imprisoned in the Maldives.

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