Maldives' chief prosecutor came close to resigning, sources say

Maldives' chief prosecutor Aishath Bisham almost resigned on Wednesday after the police rejected her opinion over the controversial extension of the state of emergency in the archipelago, reliable sources told AVAS.

According to reliable sources inside the prosecutor general's (PG) office, Bisham had believed that the state of emergency extension was unconstitutional and had sent a letter asking the police to produce all detainees arrested during the state of emergency in court for a remand hearing.

However, when the police refused, Bisham had even scheduled a staff meeting on Wednesday afternoon where she wanted to announce her resignation.

Sources said president's office's legal affairs minister Azima Shakoor had met with the chief prosecutor before the staff meeting was cancelled.

In addition to the PG office, senior lawyers of the Attorney General's (AG) office had also been reportedly divided over the emergency state extension.

Amid the confusion however, Maldives top court late Wednesday temporarily put the state of emergency in effect until it can conclusively decide on the constitutional question marks surrounding the parliament vote to extend the state of emergency.

The apex court late Wednesday, issued a temporary ruling ordering the authorities to follow the parliament vote until it can interpret the constitutional article as requested by the parliament.

The temporary ruling came after the opposition along with top lawyers in the country argued that the lack of quorum at the parliament would mean that the state of emergency would no longer be in effect. The united opposition has also called for the immediate release of all detainees arrested since the emergency state was declared.

President Yameen has used the rights suspended under emergency state to crackdown hard on the opposition as police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, three lawmakers, 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Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before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 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 uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.