Maldives Crisis: Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed Arrested

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Male: Maldives Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another Supreme Court judge were arrested at dawn Tuesday, hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency, police said.

No details were given about the investigation or any charges. The turmoil began when President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a court order to release political dissidents. The opposition have called the government moves a “purge” and there has been international condemnation.

Justices Saeed and Ali Hameed were arrested along with the court’s top administrator Hassan Saeed after security forces stormed the court complex in Male, with police citing complaints of corruption against them in a brief statement.

Gayoom had sided with the main opposition and was campaigning for the toppling of his half-brother. Gayoom was taken into custody along with his son in law, the family said. They were taken away by police who broke down the main door to their home in the capital, his daughter Yumna Maumoon said on Twitter.

The high profile arrests followed the arrest Monday of ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the estranged half-brother of Yameen. The declaration of a state of emergency for 15 days followed a tense standoff between Yameen and the Supreme Court which had ordered the release of nine political prisoners.

The top court had also ordered the reinstatement of 12 legislators who had been sacked for defecting to the opposition. The move had effectively given the opposition a majority in the 85-member parliament clearing the way for a possible impeachment of Yameen.

Maldives is a nation is made up of 26 coral atolls and 1,192 individual islands, and tourism is a vital part of its economy.