Maldives police trying to quiz Gayoom over 'ongoing probe'

Police on Monday admitted an effort to question deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom over an 'ongoing investigation' amid an ongoing political standoff in the archipelago.

Police on Twitter confirmed that its officers had gone down to the former president's residence in the capital Male to question Gayoom without revealing details about the nature of the investigation. However, the former strongman had refused to meet the officers but promised to inform the officers once he was available, police added.

Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon is among the nine people the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the government to release.

More than three days after the Supreme court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.

In addition to Faris, the other top political leaders named in the order included self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed, Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim and former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

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 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.

The reinstatement of the 12 lawmakers disqualified by the country's elections commission would mean that the united opposition would now have parliament majority which has the power to impeach the president.

Government meanwhile, confirmed a Supreme Court led move to have president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom arrested.

Amid increasing rumours that the apex court was preparing to act over the refusal to comply, president Yameen in a letter to chief justice Abdulla Saeed insisted that the constitution clearly stipulates the mandate, immunities and authorities of every state institution.

In the letter which was read out by the legal affairs minister Azima Shakoor on state television, president Yameen warned the Supreme court against 'abusing' the constitutional privileges, immunities and authorities granted to its judges in any way that contradicts or invades the jurisdiction and mandate of other state institutions or powers of the state.