State of emergency in Maldives to 'probe coup' as judges arrested

Maldivian Supreme Court rescinds ruling to release opposition leaders

The Maldives' top judge was arrested on Tuesday as security forces stormed the Supreme Court at dawn after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the honeymoon islands.

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who's now in exile, has called on nearby India and the U.S.to intervene in the crisis.

According to reports, Maldives former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice of Supreme Court Abdulla Saeed and another judge Ali Hameed have been arrested. The UN, the United States, the UK, Australia - nearly all major countries have urged President Abdulla Yameen Gayoom to obey Supreme Court orders and respect democratic institutions.

A statement from the President's Office said the government welcomed the court's revision.

"We have advised our operators to not sell Maldives packages", said Raman Singh Taneja, Managing Director, Flexi Tours Pvt Ltd in New Delhi that sends tour packages.

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"We believe the Maldives government and political parties have the wisdom and the capability to deal with the current situation on their own", he added.

For their part, India and the U.S. said they were "concerned" and troubled by the emergency decree, while the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Germany urged Yameen to lift it and restore civil liberties.

Political turmoil has swept the Maldives since the surprise court ruling last week ordering the release of the opposition leaders, including many of Mr Yameen's main political rivals.

The European Union has said that it expects the Maldivian government to engage in inclusive dialogue with the leaders of all political parties to pave way for "transparent and credible" polls, amid a face-off between the government and the Supreme Court.

In the last few days, the political crisis in Maldives has worsened with president Abdulla Yameen declaring a state of emergency in the country for 15 days.

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Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the Opposition, was also detained at home.

The decree gives the government sweeping powers to make arrests, search and seize property, and restricts freedom of assembly.

The Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,000 islands with fewer than 400,000 citizens, more than one-third of them living in the crowded capital city, Male.

Abdullah Riyaz, a former Commissioner of Police said, "People of Maldives are demanding the President to step down".

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