Colombo, Feb 12 (IANS) The police in Maldives on Monday asked the country's media not to report "unverified information", saying it could "hinder investigation" into an alleged coup that it said had led the government to declare an emergency and arrest Supreme Court judges and several opposition leaders.
"The Maldives Police Service... requests the media not to spread false information and information not verified by the police," it said in a statement cited by Efe news.
The latest crisis in Maldives erupted after the government declared an emergency for 15 days and arrested the Chief Justice and another judge of the Supreme Court. The apex court had earlier ordered a retrial of nine opposition leaders, including the exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed. The court had said that those arrested must be released. The top court had also called for the reinstatement of 12 opposition lawmakers.
President Abdulla Yameen's government initially said it would abide by the order but subsequently decided to disregard the ruling and claim it had thwarted a coup attempt by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, both under custody at the moment.
Saeed and another Supreme Court judge, Ali Hameed, were suspended from their duties last week by the Judicial Service Commission. After their arrest, the Supreme Court reversed the earlier order on the release and retrial of opposition leaders.
Maldives television channel, Raajje TV, suspended its regular broadcasts last Thursday and went off air for 56 hours "following multiple threats and intimidation from the security services".
Raajje said the Maldives Broadcasting Commission had been taken over by the armed forces and had issued "warnings of action against the media" in the name of protecting "national security".
In its statement, the police also said it had found large sums of money with Hameed and Judicial Administrator Hassan Saeed Hussain, who is also under arrest, which it said, proved the charges against them of an attempted coup.
So far, 30 people have been questioned and eight arrested, according to the police statement.