The Maldives state of emergency is unconstitutional according to the prosecutor general, two senior officials at her office have said.
Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham wrote to police hours after parliament approved President Abdulla Yameen’s request to extend the state of emergency by 30 days.
She informed police the state of emergency was unconstitutional because parliament’s vote on it was unconstitutional, according to sources who spoke to the Maldives Independent on condition of anonymity.
The vote took place without the constitutionally required number of 43 lawmakers.
“The letter was sent on Tuesday night after the parliament vote,” one of the officials said Wednesday. “The prosecutor general said she believed that the vote was unconstitutional and as a result the state of emergency is also unconstitutional.
“She did not ask the police to release the state of emergency detainees but said she could not see any legal basis for keeping them under arrest.”
The prosecutor general offered her opinion that those arrested under the state of emergency could not be detained any longer, the officials said.
The constitution says the prosecutor general has the authority to oversee the legality of investigations and to monitor the circumstances under which any person is arrested.
The Maldives United Opposition condemned the police, accusing them of following Yameen’s “unlawful orders.”
“The prosecutor general informed police last night that the state of emergency is unconstitutional,” said MP Ahmed Mahloof. “The attorney general has also supported that prosecutor general’s opinion.
“But still the president is forcing the police to keep the people arrested under detention. Then the Supreme Court orders everyone to follow the emergency. The Supreme Court has no authority anymore.
“The chief justice and a judge of the court are detained illegally. The Supreme Court can’t deliberate without the chief justice. They can’t even use the seal of the court without the permission of the chief justice.”