Free Press Journal

Maldives lifts state of emergency


Male: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen today lifted with immediate effect the State of Emergency, a week after it was imposed citing threat to national security and giving sweeping powers to security forces while suspending the right to freedom of movement and assembly. “State of Emergency (SoE) originally announced for 30 days from 4th November 2015. Now it ends on 10th November with immediate effect,” a Foreign Ministry statement said here, maintaining that the overall security situation in the country has improved after the action taken by the security forces.

It mentioned that the President also took into consideration, calls by friendly governments and international organisations to lift the emergency. The US, the Commonwealth and Sri Lanka had called on the island nation to lift emergency. With the lifting of the emergency, all fundamental rights that were suspended, have been restored. The emergency was declared by Yameen on November 4 for a period of 30 days after the government here asserted that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police discovered a large cache of arms in two different locations in the Maldives.

“The security forces believe that some weapons and ammunitions are still missing, and that the security forces have information that some individuals are planning to use these weapons and ammunition, which poses a serious threat to the people and to national security,” a Presidential statement had said while declaring emergency.

Significantly, the emergency was declared two days ahead of a planned protest by the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) aimed at pressuring Yameen to release its leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed from jail after a widely criticised conviction under anti-terror laws.

Announcing the lifting of emergency, the Foreign Ministry said, “The government reached its decision to lift the state of emergency, seven days after it was declared, after the security forces advised the President that the individuals who held illegal weapons have been arrested, and the overall security situation in the country has improved.”

Reacting to the development, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon said, “We are pleased that this matter has been dealt with so swiftly. We are looking forward to getting the country back on a more normal footing.”

Earlier in the day, the Maldives police announced that significant progress has also been made in the investigation into the blast on the Presidential speedboat in September that left Yameen unhurt but injured his wife and one of his bodyguards.

Last week, Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was impeached by the Parliament overwhelmingly over an alleged attempt to assassinate President Yameen.