Reinstated MP Ilham's wife arrested

Maldives police on Sunday arrested reinstated lawmaker Ilham Ahmed's wife amid the ongoing crackdown on the country's top court over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Police have been looking for the Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham since Thursday and have asked for the assistance of the public in the manhunt.

Ilham's family confirmed the arrest of the MP's wife shortly after sunset on Sunday.

Police had initially announced a manhunt for Ilham and South-Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan ongoing investigation by its economic crimes department.

Shortly after the manhunt was announced, Sinan had turned himself in saying that he wished to cooperate with the investigation.

Police had immediately taken the former government lawmaker into custody transferring him to the custodial jail in Dhoonidhoo island.

According to the arrest warrant, the two lawmakers have been accused of being bribed and playing a key role in the bid to overthrow the government which the duo had vehemently denied.

The duo had been arrested on Sunday immediately after they returned from self exile after the government launched a crackdown on the dozen lawmakers who had backed an opposition led move to unseat the parliament speaker last March.

The duo were among the dozen former government lawmakers disqualified by the country's electoral watchdog over the Supreme Court's anti-defection ruling.

However, the Criminal Court the following day had denied a remand request and had freed the two lawmakers.

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.

The Supreme Court’s decision last Thursday had also overturned its previous ruling to provide a ‘temporary solution’ to the issue of floor-crossing and changing party membership of Parliamentarians until the Parliament enacts a law for the purpose.

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, Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.

Police on Friday read out a statement on state television confirming Siyad's involvement in the plot saying that a total eight people had been arrested thus far over the case.

In the statement, police had claimed to have uncovered document evidence implicating the suspects to the case revealing that over USD200,000 along with over MVR500,000 were found in a bag that belonged to the chief judicial administrator Hassan Saeed.

Police also said judge Ali Hameed had purchased a flat with the bribe money and an unnamed company had "loaned" over USD2 million to the judge.

The latest accusations came after police had confirmed Gayoom had bribed the judges into issuing the order in a bid to overthrow the government.

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.

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.

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 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.