Reference No: 80/07/2012
14 July 2012
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemns in the strongest terms the targeted intimidation of women protesters by Dr. Waheed’s regime. During over five months of ongoing peaceful protests against the forceful overthrow of the Maldives first democratically elected government on 7 February 2012, the MDP notes a high level of threats and targeted arrests of active, vocal women protesters. Highlighted below are a few recent cases:
Uz. HisaanHussain – the MDP’s Legal Director, member of President Nasheed’s legal team, former Cabinet Secretary, and a key witness on the events of 7 February was arrested today from a peaceful protest. Hisaan was standing behind the Police barricade as can be seen in the video below, when she was detained by riot officers. In the video, she can be heard questioning the Police officers about her constitutional rights. Hisaan was appointed as President Nasheed’s Cabinet Secretary in 2010 and is a key witness to the events that occurred in the President’s Office on 7 February coup d’etat.
Aminath Shauna – the MDP’s Youth Wing President, and former Under Secretary in Policy matters under President Nasheed’s administration was arrested on 13 July, on the grounds that she obstructed Police duty by throwing rocks at Police officers. Shauna was kept in Dhoonidhoo detention centre overnight and brought to the Criminal Court this afternoon at approximately 1530, where her hearing was delayed by over 3 hours. She was not given a sanitary napkin when she requested, and was not given access to her personal belongings, which were sent to her by her family via the Police custodial unit. Shauna’s family, friends and well wishers who were waiting in front of the court for a verdict on the grounds of her arrest and the possible extension of her detention were blockaded, threatened and pepper sprayed by Police officers who cordoned off the area. Shauna’s mother, HawwaManik was shoved aside by a Police officer when she questioned their actions. She was told, ‘this is our government, this is our country. We can send you off from anywhere we want.’ Aminath Shauna was released, without charge upon the condition that she did not attend ‘any protests for 21 days’.
MariyamMaidha – arrested on Monday, 9 July from the ongoing protests, had her detention extended to 15 days. MDP notes that this extension is equivalent to that which was given to a suspect arrested in relation to a murder case earlier this month. Aminath Shauna, upon her release stated that MariyamMaidha had not been given a change of clothes since she was arrested on Monday. Maidha is being accused of beating riot police officers.
MariyamManike – brutally arrested on 12 July by male Police officers and released unconditionally the following day. MariyamManike was not allowed a phone call while under custody and was not given medical attention for her hand, which was injured while she was being detained. MariyamManike’s thumb is fractured.
Drug tests were carried out on all detainees, even though they were not arrested in relation to a drugs case or charged with a criminal offence.
The MDP have previously highlighted and expressed concern over the current regime’s steps to narrow constitutional rights through their representatives in the legislature, and through collusion with a judiciary, which is far from independent. As such the MDP again questions the legality of the arrests of many peaceful protesters, such as Shauna, Hisaan and Mariyam Mohamed. The MDP also questions the conditions of Shauna’s and Mariyam Mohamed, a member of the Maldives’ women’s football team’s release which, which is in contravention of article 32, ‘the right to freedom of peaceful assembly without prior permission of the State.’ Shauna and Mariyam Mohamed’s mobile phones were also confiscated under a court order.
The MDP and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have previously raised the issue of maltreatment and harassment of women protesters and detainees with Dr.Waheed’s regime and with the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives. Harassment of protesters was also raised by State Parties to the Home Minister and Head of the Maldives’ delegation, Mohamed Jameel Ahmed at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s session in Geneva on 13 July. The MDP reiterate these concerns with the recent increase in targeted intimidation towards these groups of protesters.
MDP Spokesperson for International Affairs, Hamid AbdulGafoor stated, ‘not one single police officer has yet to be charged or prosecuted in connection with the widespread police brutality in the country since Feb 7th. Whereas over 700 protesters have been arbitrarily detained, and many of them tortured, including through sexual abuse.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs