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Maldives brings terrorism charges against top officials

[JURIST] The prosecutor general of the Maldives brought charges [text, PDF] against 11 current and former government officials Tuesday.

The charges include attempting to overthrow the government, attempting an act of terrorism, and giving and receiving bribes. The people named in the plot include long time former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, an associate justice, several parliamentarians, and other judicial and political officials.

In February the Supreme Court ordered [text, PDF, in Dhivehi] the release of several political prisoners including former president Mohamed Nasheed. The government's refusal to comply with this court order resulted in popular protests in the island nation's capital Malé, which in turn caused the government to declare [JURIST report] a state of emergency. Under this state of emergency, two justices of the court, including the Chief Justice, were arrested on corruption charges and the earlier court order was reversed [JURIST report].

Current president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom [official profile] is the half brother and now political rival of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He came to power after Maldives' only democratically elected president, Nasheed, was jailed [JURIST report] in 2015. The actions taken under the state of emergency are generally viewed as a way for the incumbent to continue to sideline his opposition before elections later this year.

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