MDP PRESS STATEMENT: MDP Condemns Government Purge of Police Whistleblowers

Reference No: 70/6/2012

June 15, 2012

MDP Condemns Government Purge of Police Whistleblowers

The Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) today expressed its growing concern for the victims of a Government purge of police officers who allegedly provided information to the MDP about police involvement in the coup d’etat of 7th February. The three officers, including the former head of police intelligence, Chief Superintendent Mohamed Hameed, Sergeant Ahmed Naseer, and a third man, were rounded up yesterday and their houses searched.

The MDP’s investigation and report into the events of 7th February found widespread and detailed evidence of collusion between certain elements of the police and army still loyal to the country’s former autocratic leader, President Gayoom, and members of the 23rd December Coalition which overthrew the democratic Government of President Mohamed Nasheed. A large number of police officers were named in the report as being centrally involved in the coup. Those officers have since taken up senior positions in the Maldives Police Service. In addition, two of the main instigators of the coup are now Police Commissioner and Minister of Defence.

The police initially denied allegations of a “witch hunt” and issued a statement accusing the media of “circulating baseless and false reports”. However court warrants for the arrest of Hameed and Staff Sergeant Ahmed Naseer were subsequently leaked.

Hameed was taken into custody this morning and transferred to the detention centre on Dhoonidhoo, ahead of a court hearing this afternoon. Naseer and a third, lower-ranking officer are also believed to be in Dhoonidhoo.

During the court hearing the pro-government Criminal Court extended Hameed’s detention to five days. The Chief Superintendent was led out the back door of the court away from the crowds of MDP protesters who had gathered outside. Riot police pushed the crowds back to the STO Trading centre.The Criminal Court arrest warrant stated that Hameed is accused of “misusing”/leaking information acquired through his position for “the political gain of a particular group” and participating in the compilation of the “misleading” Ameen-Aslam report, which undermines “the public’s respect for the security services.”

The evidence submitted to get the court warrant stated that a draft of the report with recommended changes was found in Hameed’sgmail account, and messages were found that suggested Hameed was consulted prior to the release of the report.

The family of Chief Superintendent Hameed expressed concern over his detention and noted that he was widely respected in the force as “a man of principle”. He has been in the service for over 17 years and has a masters in policing, intelligence and counter-terrorism.

Police issued a statement this afternoon confirming that Hameed had been arrested “under the charges of leaking information collected by the Maldives Police Services concerning national security, leaking untrue and false information intended to benefit a specific [political] party which resulted in a threat to national security of the country, and causing divisions between civilians and police officers, which are all against the Maldives Police Services Act.”

Commenting on the arrests, MDP’s international spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said: “What we are seeing today is further evidence of the Maldives’ rapid descent into a police state. Brave men and women who wish to stand up for the rule of law, for democracy and for human rights are today subjected to constant threats and intimidation. This purge of police officers who the Government considers possible opponents demonstrates President Waheed’s growing paranoia and the fact the his coalition Government are determiend to rule by fear.

“MDP calls on the EU, the US, the UN Human Rights Council and others to urgently enquire into the well-being of these police officers and to hold this illegal Government accountable for their growing use of violence and intimidation for political means” Hamid added.

Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs

Mobile: +9607778285
Tel: +9603340044