09, Feb 2018 | CJP Team
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said that the Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen’s declaration of a state of emergency, and ensuing suspension of constitutional guarantees has eliminated checks and balances and the separation of powers that are vital for any functioning democracy. This could result in increased human rights violations for the people in the country, Zeid said. The Maldives’ Supreme Court ordered that nine political prisoners be freed and retried, and that 12 suspended members of parliament be reinstated, prompting the declaration of the state of emergency on February 5, 2018. Several significant constitutional provisions have been suspended, along with the Criminal Procedure Code. Two Supreme Court judges, including the chief justice, were arrested, after which the remaining three judges on the court reversed its previous ruling regarding the political prisoners. Ex-president Maumoon Abdool Gayoom has also been arrested, and accused of trying to overthrow the government, among other charges. “The Maldives have seen in recent years attacks on political opponents, on journalists, on civil society and human right defenders, and what is happening now is tantamount to an all-out assault on democracy,” Zeid said. The state of emergency has also suspended protections against arbitrary detention. This means that people may not be notified about why they are detained or arrested, and will be unable to appeal a criminal or civil conviction and sentence.