Maldives President Yameen appears in public after SC verdict

Mohamed Nasheed has vowed to return

Mohamed Nasheed has vowed to return

The Maldives Supreme Court on Thursday night ordered immediate release of jailed politicians, including former President Mohammed Nasheed, and said the "questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrant a re-trial".

The Maldivian opposition on Saturday accused President Abdulla Yameen of resisting local and worldwide pressure to comply with a landmark Supreme Court order to free nine political prisoners.

Current President had been set to run for re-election virtually unopposed, with all of his opponents either jailed or exiled.

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets to demand compliance with the court order, and Western countries and global organisations have urged Yameen to obey it.

The court decision effectively restores the opposition's majority in parliament, reinstating 12 members who had been stripped of their seats.

"I can contest and will contest", he said in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Yameen and his ruling Progressive Party of Maldives have rolled back numerous democratic gains seen in the archipelago since 2008, with all of his potential political opponents either jailed or in exile.

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After the court's ruling was made public, street celebrations by government opponents transformed into three hours of clashes with police, who used tear gas and batons to break up the gatherings.

The Maldives, known for luxury tourist resorts, became a multiparty democracy 10 years ago after decades of autocratic rule. "In the spirit of democracy and rule of law, it is imperative for all organs of the Government of Maldives to respect and abide by the order of the apex court", the MEA release further added. However, it lost much of its democratic gains after Gayoom's 2013 election.

On Friday, Nasheed, whose conviction for abducting a judge was overturned by the court order, said he would mount a fresh challenge for the presidency this year.

Speaking to a number of supporters gathered in front of the campaign office run by his faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, he said he thought he had already done so but considers this moment more auspicious.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison after he was convicted of the abduction charge under the Maldives' anti-terror laws in a trial that was widely condemned by worldwide rights groups.

Adeeb was sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2016, charged with corruption, possession of illegal firearms and planning to kill by triggering an explosion on his speedboat.

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