Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Photograph:( Others )
Authorities in Maldives charged longtime former dictator and top judges and police officials with terrorism as the government deals with political turmoil that prompted a weeks-long state of emergency.
According to reports, nine people charged at the criminal court included Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the 30-year ruler of the Indian Ocean archipelago state; Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed; four lawmakers including Gayoom's son; and a former police commissioner.
Prosecutors did not specify the grounds on which they are charged with terrorism. If convicted, they could be jailed for 10 to 15 years. All three also were charged with obstruction of justice on suspicion of refusing to hand over their phones to investigators.
Under the emergency, Yameen's administration arrested former president Maumoon AbdulGayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government. They have all rejected the charges.
"Unless something unusual happens, we should not have an emergency by Thursday," Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Maldives Ambassador for Sri Lanka told a Foreign Correspondents Association forum on Monday.
"The government has no intention of extending it any further barring very unusual circumstances like widespread violence. The intention is to do away with this state of emergency when the current 30 day period expires on March 22."
Shareef said bribery charges against Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed have been sent to the prosecutor general and that bribery charges will also be brought against former president Gayoom and Supreme Court administrator Hassan Sayeed.
"That is definite. We know that charges will be pressed against the four of them,” Shareef said.
Gayoom is accused of bribing the three legal professionals to overthrow the Yameen government.
Meanwhile, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen will lift a 45-day state of emergency on Thursday.