Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom not attempting to flee country: Spokesperson

Maldives back on boil afer apex court frees Mohamed Nasheed Opp leaders

The court said the "questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrant a retrial". "We won't let that happen", he said. It is no secret that Yameen has a powerful backer in Beijing and that he has skilfully played India and China against each other despite his stated India First policy.

His decision comes a day after the Supreme Court cleared him of terrorism charges and said his trial in 2015 was "politically motivated".

Mr Nasheed has told the BBC he plans to return and compete in the elections due to take place later this year, although he did not say when.

The court also ordered the immediate release of other opposition leaders, sparking demonstrations as crowds of supporters celebrated the ruling.

The joint Maldivian opposition, led by Nasheed's MDP, again appealed to the worldwide community, including India, to do everything "in their power to impress upon the Government of Maldives, security services and institutions to respect the Supreme Court ruling, and to uphold the Constitution and abide by Maldives commitments under global law to protect civil and political rights of its citizens". The latest ruling reaffirms the fundamentals of the separation of powers.

It also nullified a ruling in which 12 legislators lost their parliamentary seats for defecting last July from Yameen's ruling party. The decision effectively gave the opposition a majority in Parliament, which has the power to impeach the President.

Opposition parties had already brought an impeachment motion against speaker which is pending.

The statement came as Maldives Government has hinted of a prolonged process for release of opposition leaders saying it has discussed concerns and consequences of ruling with Chief Justice.

Shortly after Thursday's ruling the police announced on Twitter that it would enforce it.

So is this the beginning of the end for Mr Yameen, as the opposition claim?

The attorney general said Mr Areef had been sacked because he was uncontactable following the court order. We are deeply fearful that the government's refusal to implement the Supreme Court order could escalate to unrest and incite violence across the country,
" a statement released by MDP said.

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