The Associated Press MALE (AP) — Three Maldives Supreme Court justices on Tuesday annulled their own order to free a group of imprisoned opposition politicians after two of the court’s justices were arrested amid a political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.
The new ruling came as President Yameen Abdul Gayoom moved to assert his power over the court, declaring a state of emergency and ordering security forces to raid the court compound where the justices were arrested.
Political turmoil has swept the Maldives since the surprise court ruling last week ordering the release of the opposition leaders, including many of Yameen’s main political rivals.
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. He also labeled the original court ruling a coup.
“This is not a state of war, epidemic or natural disaster. This is something more dangerous,” Yameen said on national television. “This is an obstruction of the very ability of the state to function.”
Yameen has rolled back a series of democratic reforms during his five years in office and said that the court overstepped its authority in ordering the politicians released, saying the order “blatantly disrupts the systems of checks and balances.”