'I'm a terrorist for preserving my oath', ex-police chief tells court

The prosecution has declared him a terrorist for simply preserving and honouring the police oath, former police chief Ahmed Areef charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government told the criminal court on Sunday.

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.

During the pre-trial hearing on Sunday, Areef denied the charges which he said were baseless and designed to "frame" him.

The former police chief said in his 29 years of police service, he has never broken the law. He further insisted that he did not have the authority to question a ruling by a court of law.

"How can I not obey a Supreme Court order and break my oath just because someone goes on TV and asks not to enforce the order? How can I break my oath and ignore an order of the highest court? So when they have made me a terrorist for simply trying to enforce an order of the Supreme Court," the former police chief lamented.