Emergency extension unconstitutional | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 23, 2018


Emergency extension unconstitutional

Says prosecutor general in a letter to police

  • Parliament extended emergency without required quorum

  • Opposition protest dispersed with pepper spray

The extension of a state of emergency in the Maldives was unconstitutional, the country's prosecutor general has said, according to two sources and local media on Wednesday.

Parliament approved on Tuesday the extension sought by President Abdulla Yameen, but it was passed without the constitutionally required quorum of 43 lawmakers.

The prosecutor general, Aishath Bisham, had told police in a letter the state of emergency was unconstitutional, two senior officials of the Prosecutor General's office told Reuters.

"The prosecutor general said that she believed the vote was unconstitutional and as a result the state of emergency is also unconstitutional," one official said.

"She did not ask the police to release the state of emergency arrestees, but she said that she could not see any legal basis for keeping them under arrest."

Prosecutor General's letter comes after several travel advisories since Yameen declared the state of emergency on February 5.

When parliament approved the extension of emergency, the ruling party legislators also sought a Supreme Court opinion through a resolution on the approval without the quorum.

In his request to extend the emergency, Yameen said a threat to national security had not diminished and a constitutional crisis had not been resolved.

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 emergency ended on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court after the parliament vote on Tuesday issued a temporary stay, asking all state institutions to follow the state of emergency declaration until it deliberated on a resolution submitted to the court by the parliament.

Police dispersed night protests by opposition supporters who have been demanding the detention of president Yameen and release of opposition leaders.

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