7 February Male: On 6 February, Police arrested Hon. Qasim Ibrahim’s eldest son. Qasim is the head of the Jumhooree Party, which is part of the opposition coalition. Siyad is the Managing Director of Villa Group, his father’s business.
Earlier yesterday, Police raided the Villa Group’s office in Male and Paradise Resort, a tourist resort owned by the company.
The Police did not have warrants for Siyad’s arrest, nor the raids on the Villa office and Paradise Resort.
This harassment comes after the Maldives Supreme Court ruling of February 1, ordering the immediate release of a number of high profile political detainees and leaders, including Hon. Qasim. President Yameen has refused to comply with the ruling and is refusing to release political prisoners.
Hon. Qasim was sentenced following a bid by the opposition to remove the Speaker of Parliament, a Yameen crony. The lawmaker is amongst the more than 20 MPs prosecuted since the opposition obtained a parliamentary majority in July 2017.
Hon. Qasim is currently in Germany, where he was allowed to seek medical treatment after his arrest. The Maldivian authorities have attempted to bring Qasim back to the Maldives, to jail, on a number of occasions since allowing him to leave. The authorities have also cancelled his passport in an attempt to restrict his movements.
The raids on his businesses, and the arrest of his son, are egregious intimidation tactics on the part of President Yameen. Hon. Qasim has pledged his support to a common opposition candidate, to run against President Yameen in the upcoming presidential elections.
The arrest of Siyad Ibrahim is part of President Yameen’s latest and vicious crackdown on the families of his opponents. Three members of the recently arrested Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed’s family have also been arrested in recent days.
“President Yameen declared a state of emergency, and has since used his decree as a means to bypass due process and the law, to assault and punish anyone who opposes him. This latest tactic of persecuting the families is as illegal as it is immoral. We demand the immediate, and unconditional release of Ibrahim Siyad,” said MDP Chairperson Hassan Latheef.