The Maldives parliament sacked the chief prosecutor shortly after the government bowed to international pressure and lifted a state of emergency imposed after an alleged plot to blow up the president. At a hastily convened midnight session of parliament yesterday, ruling party legislators voted overwhelmingly to sack Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin without disclosing the allegations against him.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party boycotted the vote, saying it was rushed. The MDP believes Muhsin was removed on suspicion of supporting estranged Vice President Ahmed Adeeb who is accused of trying to topple President Abdulla Yameen. “The prosecutor general has undoubtedly done some questionable things in the past. All those things must be looked into. However, the problem is the way this is being done through the parliament,” MDP lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed told reporters in Male early Wednesday.
The government announced yesterday it was ending the week-long emergency after the honeymoon island nation’s security forces advised the security situation had improved. Yameen imposed the emergency last Wednesday in a move that gave wider powers to police and armed forces to arrest and suspending freedom of assembly and movement.
The former colonial power Britain as well as the United States, the European Union and neighbouring Sri Lanka had called for an immediate end to the emergency which was seen as a tool to suppress dissent. The MDP said the decision to invoke the emergency was also designed to give the government legal cover to impeach Adeeb.
The Maldives, a popular destination for honeymooners, has been rocked by political unrest in recent months, which reached new heights last week when Adeeb’s impeachment was fast-tracked using the emergency laws. Adeeb, whose predecessor was also impeached in July, has been accused of high treason over an explosion on the presidential speedboat in September that left Yameen unhurt but injured his wife and one of his bodyguards.
Yameen had insisted that it was necessary to use draconian powers to deal with at least three attempts to kill him and to ensure stability in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Yameen is also under intense international pressure to release jailed opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed whose incarceration has been ruled as illegal by a UN panel.