Opposition councilors charged over anti-govt statement

Four island councilors of Haa Alif Atoll Dhihdhoo island are facing criminal charges over a statement urging the government to implement the landmark order on February 1.

Out of the four councilors, all representing main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) the council president Ali Hashim faces three separate charges including obstruction of justice and illegally producing a document. The remaining three face only a single charge of illegally producing a document.

The charge claims that the four had issued the statement without an official council sit-down which deemed it illegal.

Hashim who was even arrested over the statement said the charges were designed to intimidate the councilors and impede their mandate.

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 a 45 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.