House arrest for Maldivian opposition MPs as crisis drags

July 1, 2010 (AFP) – A Maldivian court has ordered the house arrest of two key opposition lawmakers amid a power struggle between the country’s president and parliament, an official said Thursday. The Criminal Court of Male told police on Wednesday night to keep the two men under house arrest for three days, but the government immediately appealed to the High Court to keep them detained for longer, the official said.

“The government argues that these two MPs have been trying to bribe independent law makers to vote against the government,” the official who declined to be named said. “Investigations are still underway.”

MPs Abdulla Yamin and Qasim Ibrahim, both leaders of smaller opposition parties, were arrested by police on Tuesday shortly after a political crisis erupted when the cabinet resigned en masse.

President Mohamed Nasheed and the opposition-controlled parliament are at loggerheads over how to run the atoll nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims two years after the Indian ocean state held its first multi-party elections.

Nasheed’s 13-member group of ministers quit on Tuesday, saying parliament was blocking all its efforts to govern the country, South Asia’s most expensi