'Troubled' by Maldives crisis, United States asks Yameen to respect rule of law

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Significantly, exiled former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed today sought India's diplomatic and military intervention to resolve the crisis in the country after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and got arrested the top judge of the country's apex court.

"President Yameen's announcement which declares a state of emergency, the banning of fundamental freedoms, and the suspension of the Supreme Court is tantamount to a declaration of martial law in the Maldives".

The new order on Tuesday came hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and sent in security forces to storm the Supreme Court building and arrest two judges on the five-member bench.

Soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building and arrested two of the tribunal's four justices.

The starting point of the turmoil was when the atoll nation's Supreme Court pronounced a judgement releasing key political prisoners, including Yameen's opponent and former president, Mohamed Nasheed, who is now in exile in Sri Lanka.

The detained opposition leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, is the estranged half-brother of the current president Yameen Abdul Gayoom. "We must remove him from power".

Ilham Ahmed and Abler Mohamed were among the 12 who were reinstated by the Supreme Court.

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After Yameen declared a 15-day emergency on Tuesday, Nasheed called on India, the main regional power, to intervene. Yameen accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the emergency was imposed to investigate this plot. "So I have asked the police and the army not to implement any unconstitutional order", Anil said.

He claimed he was ousted as president and made to resign at gunpoint by police and military officers in February 2012.

"The world's eyes are on the Maldives right now and human rights must not become a casualty of this ongoing crisis", the watchdog's director Biraj Patnaik said in a statement.

The United Nations and several foreign governments, including the United States, have urged the Maldives to respect the court order.

In 2015 he was convicted under the anti-terrorism act of Maldives and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

China, India and the U.S. have issued travel advisories for the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago better known for its upmarket tourism. China views the Maldives as key to its Maritime Silk Road project in the Indian Ocean as it has already acquired Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. He also urged the United States to block financial transactions of Yameen's government.

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