Security forces in the Maldives have sealed off the country’s parliament and arrested two opposition legislators amid a deepening crisis over President Abdulla Yameen’s refusal to free jailed politicians.
Soldiers in riot gear surrounded the parliament building in Male this soon after the opposition petitioned the parliament to remove the island’s attorney general and its chief prosecutor. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the parliamentary leader of the opposition, accused the pair of breaking the law by failing to act on a Supreme Court verdict overturning “terrorism” convictions against nine dissidents, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed. The top court’s ruling has plunged the Maldives into fresh political turmoil and dealt a major blow to Yameen, who is accused of corruption, misrule and rights abuses. He denies the allegations.
The verdict also gave the opposition a majority in the 85-member parliament as it reinstated 12 members of parliament who were stripped of their seats last year. But two of the 12 were arrested at the airport today, shortly after they returned to the Maldives after months in exile. Solih condemned the arrest in a statement.