Maldives is in a state of emergency

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Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a state of emergency for 15 days in an escalation of a battle with the country's Supreme Court, which his allies say is trying to bring down the government.

"We would like the Indian government to send an envoy, backed by its military, to free the judges and the political detainees", he said in an appeal.

It said the judges, upon considering concerns raised by the president, had chose to "annul" a section ordering the release and re-trial of the nine people, seven of whom are imprisoned in the Maldives.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of as many as nine people and also prohibited the judicial watchdog from probing any case against the top court bench. "I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges", he said.

The ruling has energized an opposition that hopes Nasheed - still in exile - will be allowed to return home to run against Yameen in a presidential election due in October.

The government did not comment on soldiers entering the Supreme Court building or on Gayoom's arrest, but the president's main rival, who lives in exile, urged people not to obey what he called an "unlawful order".

Early on Tuesday opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was charged with bribery and attempting to overthrow the government, his lawyer said on Twitter.

The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was seriously concerned about the declaration of a state of emergency and the entry of security forces into the Supreme Court premises.

Mohamed Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008.

"We must remove him from power", Mr Nasheed said in a statement.

Yameen has been president of the Maldives since 2013, and has been reportedly accused of corruption and violations against freedom of speech.

Just as the police surrounded Gayoom's house today, the former president said he didn't do anything worthy of arrest and declared they would not give up on the ongoing reforms. The president also had a fallout with his half-brother, and lawmakers loyal to him have now joined forces with Nasheed against the president. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but later granted medical leave last year to travel to Britain, where he was granted asylum. He also labeled the original court ruling a coup and a plot. Nasheed was one of the opposition leaders that the court ordered freed.

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