Embattled president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has lifted the state of emergency because he no longer has a need for it after turning Maldives into a full dictatorship, self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed said Thursday.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including Nasheed.
President Yameen on February 5 had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.
As the state of emergency expired, president Yameen had got the parliament contentiously extend it by another 30 days.
Hours before the 45 day state of emergency was set to expire, legal affairs minister Azima Shakoor flanked by the Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Anil announced the president's decision to lift the emergency state with effect from 12pm Thursday.
Following the announcement, Nasheed on Twitter slammed president Yameen saying he has "overrun the judiciary and legislature, arrested hundreds unlawfully and introduced a “new normal” in the Maldives - full dictatorship."
"We will not give up, we will fight and we will overcome."
In a statement shortly after the announcement, the president's office said the emergency state was "precipitated by a constitutional crisis created by two Justices of the Supreme Court who conspired with political actors to violate both the constitution and standard legal norms and practices in order to illegally overthrow a lawful government, and whose actions constituted an imminent threat to national security."
The statement said the police along with the prosecutor general's (PG) office have been able to progress substantially into their investigation of corruption and other crimes relating to the crisis.
By Wednesday, prosecutors have got the country's criminal court to remand the suspects until the end of their respective trials which otherwise would have forced authorities to release them after the emergency state ended.
The most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.
Prosecutors have also formally charged four opposition lawmakers over the alleged coup plot.
Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, Jumhoory Party (JP) deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz, Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed and South-Machchangoalhi lawmaker Abdulla Sinan have all been charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government. Three out of the four lawmakers have all been remanded until the trial ends thus far.
The President's Office in its statement assured that the constitutional rights and functioning of independent institutions have been restored.
"The three branches of the State remain independent and the checks and balances enshrined the Constitution are safeguarded. Though there still exists a diminished threat to national security, because the nation can now continue without further losses incurred, and upon the advice of the Security Services and in an effort to promote normalcy, the President has decided to lift the State of Emergency," the statement read.
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.
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.