Maldivian President ends Emergency

Male, March 22 (IANS) Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Thursday lifted a widely denounced state of Emergency after a period of 45 days, stating that the situation in the atoll nation had returned to normal.

“Upon the advice of the security services and in an effort to promote normalcy, the President has decided to lift the state of Emergency,” President Yameen’s office said in a statement.

The President’s international spokesperson Ibrahim Shihab said all departments had been notified.

The state of Emergency was declared by Yameen on February 5 for a period of 15 days due to a “threat to the national security” following a Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of detained opposition leaders including self-exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed.

It was extended via a resolution of Parliament on February 20 for 30 days following a request by the President.

During the 45-day state of Emergency, the government said day-to-day activities of the citizens had not been affected and tourists could continue to visit the island nation.

Meanwhile, several members of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) detained under Emergency powers were released without charge, the Maldives Independent reported.

MDP Vice President Mohamed Shifaz, former MP Ilyas Labeeb and several council members were arrested in the build-up to the March 16 mass protest after police alleged there were plans to overthrow the government by inciting unrest and violence in the capital.

With constitutional due process rights suspended, the detainees were not informed of charges or taken against them. Their release came ahead of the expiry of the 45-day state of Emergency on Thursday night.

According to the opposition, around 60 people were arrested since the declaration of Emergency on February 5. The Emergency was widely condemned internationally including by the US and India.

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