The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns the arrest of MP Ahmed Mahloof and 8 other individuals from a peaceful protest against brutality on Wednesday night. The MDP further condemns the Police’s excessive use of force and the unlawful confiscation of the sound systems and vehicle used during the protest.
MP Ahmed Mahloof was targeted for arrest by the Police, and detained with the use of excessive force. Eyewitnesses at the scene state that Police swore at Mahloof and ripped his shirt. The MDP are concerned about MP Ahmed Mahloof’s safety and private security while under the custody of state authorities, especially as he has come under increasing harassment from senior government officials since he was removed from the governing Progressive Party of the Maldives.
The MDP also notes that in violation of the laws guaranteeing freedom of press, Police arrested a Raajje TV cameraman and reporter who were covering the protest. These members of the press, along with MP Mahloof and others arrested last night were handcuffed and brought to court on Thursday morning, where their detention was extended by a further 5 days.
The MDP calls upon the authorities to cease politically motivated arrests and to respect the constitutionally stipulated rights to assembly, expression and free press.
Furthermore the MDP calls upon the government to stop the arbitrary and politically motivated changes to the regulations on freedom of assembly. On Tuesday, the Minister of Home Affairs announced the sound system used in protests will be confiscated when used after 11 pm and the protest will be dispersed after midnight. “MDP strongly believes this is deliberately engineered by the Yameen regime to crush the rising dissent” said Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, MDP spokesperson.