Court cancels ex-police chief's terrorism hearing

Criminal Court on Monday cancelled a scheduled hearing of former police Ahmed Areef charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

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 self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared 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.

Yameen's half-brother and former president Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and four former government lawmakers which included Gayoom's son Faris Maumoon have been charged with terrorism for their involvement in the coup plot through the February 1 court order.

Areef was relieved from his post shortly after the top court on February 1 and was arrested under the state of emergency shortly after.

He has since been charged with terrorism after he allegedly handpicked police officers in violation of normal procedure to enforce the Supreme Court order and also attempted to disrupt the peace of the country.

A hearing was scheduled at 1pm on Monday but was cancelled by the court without revealing a reason.