Jubilant scenes were seen at the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) camp in the capital Male as hundreds gathered to celebrate the Supreme Court order to release all jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
The others named in the order included former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's brother in law Hamid Ismail.
The court said the questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrants a re-trial and ordered the authorities to immediately free the jailed leaders until a court of law sentences otherwise.
The court has ordered relevant authorities to strictly enforce the order and warned legal action against anyone who refuses to obey the court order.
The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.
Top opposition figures have called on the entire nation to join the celebrations to mark the end of 'tyranny'. They had echoed calls for the immediate impeachment of incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Opposition has also announced that Nasheed would return to the Maldives within the next 24 hours.