Maldives state of emergency lifted

  • 11/11/2015
Abdulla Yameen takes his oath as the President of Maldives in Nov 2013
Abdulla Yameen takes his oath as the President of Maldives in Nov 2013

The Maldives government has announced an end to a state of emergency, which was imposed last week after an alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

"The government of the Maldives today has lifted the state of emergency in the country with immediate effect," said a foreign ministry statement on Tuesday.

"With the lifting of the state of emergency, all fundamental rights that were suspended, have been restored."

The government had reached its decision after the security forces advised Yameen that "the overall security situation in the country has improved", the statement added.

Yameen imposed the state of emergency last Wednesday in a move that gave wider powers to police and armed forces to arrest and suspending freedom of assembly and movement.

The Maldives, a popular destination for honeymooners, has been rocked by political unrest in recent months, which reached new heights last week when vice president Ahmed Adeeb was impeached.

Adeeb, whose predecessor was also impeached in July, has been accused of high treason over an explosion on the presidential speedboat in September that left Yameen unhurt but injured his wife and one of his bodyguards.

The state of emergency contains powers that had enabled Yameen's government to fast-track the impeachment process against Adeeb.

Yameen had insisted that it was necessary to use draconian powers to deal with a threat to his life and the stability of the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims living in a cluster of 1192 tiny coral islands across the equator in the Indian Ocean.

However, his attorney-general Mohamed Anil while reading out a presidential decree removing the emergency said the tough laws were no longer required and there was no threat to the atoll nation, whose tourism industry took a nose dive after the state of emergency was imposed.

The former colonial power Britain as well as the United States, the European Union and neighbouring Sri Lanka had called for an immediate end to the emergency which was seen as a tool to suppress dissent.