Clashes in Maldives as court orders politicians released

Supreme Court of the Maldives

Yameen also said that he is now in talks with justices of the Supreme Court in order to find adequate room to enforce the ruling. His conviction and 13-year sentence was internationally condemned, and he was given political asylum in the UK.

The Indian government in its statement said that as a close and friendly neighbor, India wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives.

In a sign of mounting tensions, the government sacked the country's police chief overnight, saying Yameen had been unable to contact him.

The ruling said all political prisoners must be released as the trials against them violated the Maldives' Constitution and global law.

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'I was under the belief I had already started my campaign, but today, I say, with the grace of God, I kick off my campaign and bid for presidency' President Yameen said.

Thursday's verdict is a huge gain for the Maldivian opposition, which has been vying to oust the president for years. Abdulla Yameen has kept a firm grip on power, overseeing the arrest of political opponents and restricting political protest and press freedom. "[He] must also release other democracy activists in jail", he said. He was voted from office in 2008 in the first democratic elections.

Every time the opposition tried to play a hand, Mr Yameen stopped them in their tracks.

After the court ruling, Nasheed has declared that he can and will contest the elections which should take place this year. "At the rally he said that the government is enforcing the decision, however, commented that his Attorney General Mohamed Anil is "negotiating" with the Supreme Court, " said Naseem. When those lawmakers return, Yameen's Progressive Party of the Maldives will lose its majority in the 85-member Parliament. And in the tumultuous world of Maldivian politics, things can change very quickly.

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Parliament Secretary General Ahmed Mohamed told Reuters that parliament meant to reinstate the 12 legislators as required by the court.

Nasheed, who is among the prisoners ordered freed, said in a tweet: "Welcome tonight's SC ruling calling for the immediate release of political prisoners and the restoration of their civil and political rights".

Yameen's government Saturday announced postponement of the functioning of Maldives' Parliament due to "security reasons" further fuelling the perception that he was not going to follow the court order.

The nation is made up of 26 coral atolls and 1,192 individual islands, and is popular among foreigners as a luxury tourist destination.

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