MDP Mourns the Death of Political Detainee Abdulla Rasheed; Calls for an Immediate International Investigation into Custodial Deaths

10 October, Male: The Maldivian Democratic Party mourns the death of Abdulla Rasheed, 51. Abdulla Rasheed died while under state custody as he was serving his 5 years sentence for participating in the mass May Day rally of 2015. Abdulla Rasheed was one of over 200 people who were detained following the demonstrations, and one of seven who were prosecuted for their participation in the peaceful rally.

Rasheed’s family reports that he was not suffering from any illness when he was arrested, but had soon started complaining of ill health. Rasheed’s family reports that his repeated requests for medical attention had been ignored by the custodial authorities, and had only attended to him when he fainted in his jail cell.

Abdulla Rasheed, a political detainee, was wrongfully convicted on trumped up charges and has died of intentional negligence by the state. Rasheed’s death is the 7th custodial death in the country over the last two years.

The Maldives Human Rights Commission, the lawfully mandated National Preventive Mechanism has failed to sufficiently investigate any of the case. Many of the deaths were cited as “died of unknown reasons.” The MDP calls on international human rights organisations to immediately engage with Maldivian authorities to launch an internationally accepted, impartial investigation into the sudden death of Rasheed and other custodial deaths.

The MDP calls for an immediate, impartial, and expert investigation into the death of Abdulla Rasheed. The State has a legal and international obligation to investigate all custodial deaths, and to ensure that the right to life, the right to be free from torture or other ill treatment or other human rights have not been violated. The MDP expresses concern that if the death of Rasheed and others are not investigated, and the authorities are not held accountable, more deaths will occur at the hands of this Government.

MDP also notes that while state funding is allocated for the installation of new “death chambers” to implement the death penalty, sufficient funds are not allocated for the maintenance of custodial jails, for the upkeep of detainees and their wellbeing.

The MDP expresses its sincerest condolences to the loving wife and very young children Rasheed leaves behind, and wishes them strength during this difficult time.