The Maldives' top judge was arrested Tuesday as security forces stormed the Supreme Court at dawn after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the honeymoon islands.
The detention of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another Supreme Court judge raised the stakes in a dramatic clash after Yameen refused to comply with the court's order to release political dissidents.
The president's move sparked a strong US protest and warnings by several countries against travel to the upmarket holiday paradise.
Police said both men were under investigation for corruption and the court's top administrator had also been detained.
Yameen has presided over an escalating crackdown on dissent that has battered the image of the nation, and left almost all the political opposition jailed since he came to power in 2013.
On Monday he ordered the arrest of his estranged half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had sided with the main opposition.
The 80-year-old -- president for 30 years until the country's first democratic elections in 2008 -- was taken from his home in the capital Male around midnight on Monday, hours after the government announced a 15-day state of emergency.
"I have not done anything to be arrested," Gayoom said in a video message to supporters posted on Twitter.
"I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve too. We will not give up on the reform work we are doing."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team