Amnesty warns Maldives against suppression

London: Amnesty International has warned the Maldives against using a state of emergency as a tool for further repression and asked for immediate release of judges and opposition politicians detained by the government.

Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said, “Since the declaration of a state of emergency yesterday, we have seen a wave of arbitrary arrests in the Maldives.”

“A state of emergency cannot be used to carry out what appears to be a purge of the Supreme Court and the opposition. These judges and opposition politicians must be released immediately,” he added.

On Monday, former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by the security forces after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country.

The arrests indicated that the crackdown on the opposition intensified. The country’s National Defence Force also stormed inside the Supreme Court (SC) premises in Male on Tuesday.

Patnaik further warned that world is watching the Maldives and said that the human rights must not become a casualty of this ongoing crisis.

“The Maldivian government must uphold its obligations under international human rights law and not use measures adopted under the state of emergency as a justification for further human rights violations,” he said.

While South Asia Deputy Director Dinushika Dissanayake said that the declaration of the state of emergency is an extremely worrying development that comes at a time of heightened political anxieties in the country, but respect for human rights must not become another casualty of this ongoing crisis.

“The Maldivian authorities have an appalling track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition, a pattern of behaviour that has intensified over recent years,” Dissanayake said.

“It is vital that the authorities respect their obligations under international human rights law during this period of emergency. This cannot be a licence for further repression,” she added. (ANI)