World Bulletin/News Desk
The Maldives Supreme Court on Sunday dismissed the country's top elections officials for failing to follow its guidelines during last year's presidential polls and for disbanding eight political parties ahead of a parliamentary election this month.
The court ordered the head of the commission, Fuwad Thowfeek, and his deputy, Ahmed Fayaz, removed from their posts and asked the parliament to appoint replacements within six days. Thowfeek received a six-month jail sentence, suspended for three years.
The election commission came under the seven-member court's scrutiny last year when it went ahead with a presidential run-off after three previous attempts were annulled or postponed by the court.
Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president who was ousted in February 2012, narrowly lost a Nov. 16 run-off to the current president, Abdulla Yameen. Nasheed's opposition coalition is challenging Yameen's ruling coalition in a March 22 poll.
Last month the election commission disbanded eight political parties with less than 3,000 members in line with a parliamentary act passed last year, despite the Supreme Court asking it not to go forward with the move.
The court, which tried the two men and other members of the commission last month, said it had determined that Thowfeek and Fayaz must bear responsibility for "disobeying and challenging" Supreme Court judgments and order, which were issued in its capacity as "the guardian of the constitution."
It said the two officials had "lost the right and legal status to remain members of the commission."
Thowfeek confirmed the verdicts and said he did not know how their replacements would be appointed.
Nasheed, while campaigning in Haa Alif Dhidhoo island, criticized the Supreme Court's judgments and called on Maldivians to protest.
"This is the saddest day in the history of Maldives' constitutional life. Gain courage from each other, come out and protest. If you stay quietly at home tonight, our children and our children's children will not see a good future," Nasheed said.
Eduard Kukan, the chief observer of the European Union's election observation mission to the Maldives, said the Thowfeek-led election commission had played an important role in ensuring transparent, inclusive and credible electoral processes.
"The mission will study the verdict carefully, including the reasoning upon which the ruling was based," Kukan said.
Assad's comments, in an interview published by Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Monday, appeared to contradict remarks by Moscow suggesting any Russian arms supplies to Damascus were agreed before the conflict began.
According to the witnesses, explosions caused by air raids were heard near the presidential palace in southern Sanaa
The Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal has decided to revoke the decision to grant Vojislav Seselj temporary release and ordered him returned to prison.
The Kremlin said on Monday there were "positive signals" at talks in Lausanne between world powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme but it was too soon to talk about the likely outcome.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, already facing a six-year prison term after a corruption conviction, was found guilty on Monday
The ministry showed photos of long-range bombers sitting on the tarmac along with their crews. The jets returned the same day, it said.
According to sources, tribesmen took control of the four military sites in the Yemen's Dhi Naim district
The Pakistani team, to be led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz, was due to leave either on Monday or in the next few days, security officials told Reuters.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Arab leaders for response in Gaza, during the 26th round of the Arab Summit.
Watchdog urged security agencies to avoid being used to cause chaos in the country
Unknown gunmen shot and injured two policemen in a patrol car in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh late on Sunday
"Police on duty near the spot caught two attackers red-handed with three machetes as they were fleeing the scene after the incident," police official Humayan Kabir told Reuters.
India is readying the evacuation of nationals from the capital of Yemen on Monday, after four nights of Saudi-led air strikes against Houthis forces.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the flood of Internet traffic to GitHub came from Chinese search engineBaidu Inc , targeting two GitHub pages that linked to copies of sites banned in China.
The state government had slammed a 24-hour curfew Sunday after similar attacks