Maldives police arrest Gayoom amid crisis

Hours after president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a state of emergency, police late Monday broke-down the door and arrested deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's residence in the capital Male.

"A large number of police around my residence. To protect me or to arrest me? No idea," the former strongman Tweeted just before police barged into his house.

Gayoom's daughter confirmed that police have taken her husband and father into custody.

The constitutional rights suspended under the declaration would deny the former president the right to appeal or challenge the arrest.

Gayoom was the last remaining opposition leader challenging president Yameen while the rest have been jailed on more than contentious charges.

His lawyers confirmed that police had searched his residence before taking away the former president and his son in law to the police detention facility in Dhoonidhoo island. Gayoom has been accused of bribing lawmakers to overthrow the government - the same charges facing his jailed lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.

Just before he was taken into custody, Gayoom in a video message said he remained steadfast in the efforts for reform and insisted that he had not done anything unlawful.

The younger Gayoom had declared a state of emergency in the Indian Ocean archipelago amid an ongoing standoff with the country's Supreme Court.

The elder Gayoom was unceremoniously deposed from the very party he founded after falling out with his half brother.

The island nation has been plunged into fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

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

The desperate move came after president Yameen's last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed after the apex court rejected the government's 'legal and judicial' concerns over the order.

President Yameen has declared emergency state for 15 days and suspended as many as 20 constitutional rights for the duration along with the criminal procedure Act and several articles of the judicature Act.

The constitutional rights suspended president Yameen has effectively quashed any moves by the opposition to impeach him while also stripping the Supreme Court of any authority.

The judicature Act articles suspended by the president further constricts the powers of the top court and its jurisdiction to overrule the High Court.

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 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 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.