Maldives president seeks parliament's approval to extend state of emergency

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He sought parliamentary approval to extend the emergency for 30 days on Monday.

President Yameen declared emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also appealed to the Maldivian government to lift the emergency soon.

Yameen imposed a state of emergency on February 5 for 15 days to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison.

The order issued by the Supreme Court of Maldives on February 1, 2018 should be implemented in letter and spirit, it added.

The move will anger India, which had called for the emergency not to be extended so that the political process in the Maldives could resume.

The "declaration of emergency and arrests and disrespect of the Supreme Court rulings undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary", Karu Jayasuriya, chairman of South Asian Speakers and Parliamentarians, and Sri Lanka's speaker, said in a statement.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that the demonstrators had ignored warnings that the right to protest has been suspended under the state of emergency.

According to reports from Male, only 38 MPs were present for the vote this evening, despite 43 MPs being needed for the vote to take place as required by the constitution. Among them was exiled ex-President Mohamed Nasheed.

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Male: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday requested Parliament to extend the state of emergency for a further 15 days amid the ongoing political crisis.

Earlier this month the remaining judges of the court reversed their earlier order to release political prisoners, including Yameen's main rival Mohamed Nasheed.

It is the second backflip by the Supreme Court since Yameen ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice and another Supreme Court judge just two weeks ago as he declared a state of emergency.

The opposition MPs boycotted the parliament vote on the extension, but it was passed by the ruling MPs.

The opposition said later that the emergency extension was illegal because there was no constitutionally required quorum in Parliament.

Yameen has faced global censure over his refusal to abide by the top court's rulings and his declaration of a state of emergency, described by the United Nations human rights chief as "an all-out assault on democracy". But Yameen has rolled back much of the country's democratic gains after being elected in 2013.

There has been global condemnation of the government's moves, with the USA and India expressing concern.

The nation's top earner is tourism, with honeymooners drawn by its pristine islands and crystal-clear blue waters.

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