The Maldives has been in turmoil since strongman President Abdulla Yameen jailed or exiled all his main opponents in recent months.
“The European Union adopted today a framework for targeted sanctions in view of the situation in the Maldives, making it possible, if the situation does not improve, to impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on relevant individuals and entities,” the EU said after foreign ministers met in Brussels.
The EU said it would target people “responsible for undermining the rule of law or obstructing an inclusive political solution in the Maldives as well as persons and entities responsible for serious human rights violations”.
Yameen declared a state of emergency in February after the Maldives’ top court ordered that MPs sacked by the president be restored to power and dissidents freed from jail. The Maldives’ chief justice and Supreme Court judges were subsequently arrested, along with Yameen’s half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a former strongman who ruled for 30 years until 2008.
The EU and the United States have expressed deep concern over Yameen’s actions, while rights activists have asked the EU to slap sanctions on Yameen and key aides.