Maldivian president accuses chief justice of attempting to overthrow gov't
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Tuesday said he had declared a 15-day state of emergency because the Supreme Court chief justice had planned to overthrow the government.
Yameen, in an address to his nation which was televised across the island country, said the recent Supreme Court order to release top opposition leaders was "shocking" and this had threatened to "cripple" the functioning of the state.
"I had to ask myself why the Supreme Court named just these nine people," Yameen said, referring to the nine opposition leaders who were ordered to be released last week. The names included former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed and former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
Yameen reiterated that repeated attempts to contact the chief justice to share concerns with the order had failed.
After rejecting the prosecutor general's concerns over the order, the Supreme Court had refused to accept the letters that the president had sent to the chief justice, Yameen said.
Referring to reports that the Supreme Court was allegedly attempting to impeach him, Yameen said the top court had no authority to do so nor had the jurisdiction to reinstate the police chief.
"But when the chief justice was pushing for these things beyond his mandate or jurisdiction, we had to take it seriously. We had to find out why," Yameen said.
"We will find out why this happened. How thick this plot is. How deep the roots go. I ask the people to support me. Give me the chance to get to the bottom of this," Yameen said.
Maldives has been plunged into a political crisis following the Supreme Court ruling last week, with Yameen declaring a 15-day state of emergency on Monday night.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed were arrested shortly after the state of emergency was declared, on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.