ADS BY DHIRAAGU
Local

EU delegation 'disappointed' after Maldives govt snub

Maldives government has snubbed requests to meet a visiting international delegation which comprised of diplomats from UK, European Union (EU) and Germany over the ongoing political turmoil in the archipelago.

The ambassadors arrived in the Maldives amid a state of emergency following a standoff between the government and the country's top court.

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

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed as the apex court rejected the government's 'legal and judicial' concerns over the order.

Since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.

Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.

Following the declaration of emergency state, several countries including US, India, Australia, UN and the UK have expressed deep concern over the situation in the island nation.

EU ambassador to the Maldives Tung-Lai Margue expressed deep disappointment by the president and top government officials to even meet the delegation.

"It's unfortunate. None of our requests to meet the president or his ministers have been met," Margue noted.

UK high commissioner James Dauris reiterated concern the international community has over the swiftly eroding constitutional rights and freedoms in the country.

"The situation in this country does concern us. We came here as friends. We are here because we want to talk the government," Dauris said.

German ambassador Jorn Rhode echoed similar concerns noting that the delegation had come following the Maldives government's invitation to the international community to "visit and assess" the situation in the Maldives.

"We came but we couldn't meet anybody," Rhode lamented.

The government had in a statement officially invited its development partners and representatives from international organizations and associations to visit the Maldives to assess the situation in the Maldives and witness the safety and security of Male, for their own citizens as well as to engage with the government and key stakeholders in the country.

The snub comes as the UN security council prepares to discuss the crisis in the Maldives.

International news-wire Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted diplomats saying that during a closed-door meeting, the council will hear a report by the UN political affairs department, which asked the top UN body to take up the matter

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

Since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.

Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.

The arrest of the top court judges came after president had alleged that the chief justice had been bribed to issue the court order in a bid to overthrow the government.

Following president Yameen's accusations, police on Wednesday implicated Gayoom in a plot to overthrow the government by bribing the judges to issue the order to release political prisoners.

Acting police chief Abdulla Nawaz during a live press conference had read out the accusations against the trio along with the now jailed judicial administrator Hassan Saeed.

The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother's government.

The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.

Nawaz claimed that police had uncovered evidence of millions of transactions made in connection to the plot.

In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded 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.

Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's brother in law Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.

The top court had not rescinded the part of the order which quashed its anti-defection ruling ordering the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.