A U.N. rights group said on Monday the detention of two Supreme Court judges in the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives was an attack on the independence of the judiciary and undermined the rule of law.
The Muslim-majority Maldives, best known for its luxury beach resorts, has been in crisis since the Supreme Court quashed convictions ranging from corruption to terrorism of nine opposition figures, and ordered the government to release them.
“This direct attack on the Supreme Court undermines its legitimacy and independence, and casts serious doubt on its ability to protect constitutional principles and to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the U.N. group said in a statement. “It is clear that the rule of law in the Maldives is now under siege. We call on the government to refrain from any threats or interference that may hamper the court’s independence as the supreme guardian of the country’s constitution and legislation.”
Opposition legislators in the past have complained of authorities targeting them with false allegations. Yameen has denied the accusations.
Most of the opposition leaders likely to challenge Yameen in a presidential poll later this year are facing jail sentences.
The tumult comes during the peak tourism season in Maldives, which earned $2.7 billion in 2016 from holidaymakers visiting luxury hotels and scuba diving resorts scattered round the myriad tiny tropical islands and coral atolls.