Joint Opposition: Press Statement on Arrest of MPs, Arrest of MDP Youth Wing Members, Withdrawal of Privileges of Political Detainees

MP Faris Maumoon, MP Abdulla Sinan arrested, wife of MP Ilham Ahmed, Hon. Qasim Ibrahim’s son arrested

On 9 February, MP Abdulla Sinan turned himself to the Police, after the Maldives Police Service issued a “wanted” notice for him and MP Ilham Ahmed. The Police said they were searching for the two MPs, in connection to an investigation by the Economic Crime Department.

Both MPs had been arrested previous, upon arriving in Male, on February 4. However the following day Criminal Court denied a remand period and freed the two MPs.

On 11 February, the Police arrested wife of MP Ilham Ahmed, and informed her she would be released as soon as MP Ilham presents himself to the Police. The couple have four young children.

The arrest of MP Sinan, and the warrant for MP Ilham are reported to be in connection with allegations of “bribery” against MP Faris Maumoon. MP Faris Maumoon was taken back to jail on 8 February, after a brief transfer to house arrest.

MP Qasim’s eldest son, Siyad Qasim was arrested on 6th February. MP Faris Maumoon’s brother in law Mohamed Nadheem was arrested on 6 February, accused of “terrorism.”

Arrest of MDP Youth Wing President and Members

On 10 February, the Police arrested the President of the MDP Youth Wing, and 5 other members of the Youth Wing. Youth Wing head Mikail Naseem, Rayyan Jamaal (Gdh. Gadhoo Island Council President), Abdulla Anil (Aa. Rasdhoo Councilor), Sheena Mohammed (lawyer), and Safaath Ahmed (Founder of Women & Democracy) were arrested while leading a demonstration calling on the Government to implement the Supreme Court ruling.

Mikail’s remand was set for 5 days under house arrest, while Rayyan and Anil’s remand was set for 5 days in jail. Sheena and Saffath have been transferred to 5 days under house arrest.

Withdrawal of Privileges for Political Detainees in Maafushi Jail, and for Judges in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre.

Privileges have been withheld for political prisoners in Maafushi Jail.

Former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and former Defense Minister Colonel; (Rtd) Mohamed Nazim have been denied family visits and access to lawyers. President Maumoon has been allowed one family visit since his arrest on 6 February, and Colonel Nazim has been granted one phone call only since his arrest later in the same afternoon. Colonel Nazim has not been granted family visits since he was taken back to jail on 6 February. Sheikh Imran has also been denied any privileges since February 1. Former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was transferred from Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre to Maafushi Jail on February 2. His access to family and lawyers have also been withheld since.

The Correctional Facility has cited the “state of emergency” as a reason for withdrawing the privileges.

Until President Maumoon received a call to the family today, the former President had been kept “incommunicado” for over 24 hours, during which his family was even denied permission to send him change of clothes.

President Maumoon was transferred to Maafushi Jail from Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre when he was unwell, and without informing his lawyers or family.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed has been moved to solitary confinement into small cell, without any light or ventilation. After his arrest on February 6, the Chief Justice had been kept in a larger room, but denied on 11 February, without any explanation.

On 8 February, the Police arrested Judge Ali Hameed’s wife. Judge Ali Hameed of the Supreme Court had been arrested on 6 February.

The Police did not have court warrants for any of the arrests, using the “state of emergency,” to bypass all due process in the what is amounting a witch- hunt of the political opposition, the judges and their families.

On 1 February, the Supreme Court ruled the release of 9 political prisoners, including MP Qasim Ibrahim, MP Faris Maumoon and Colonel Mohamed Nazim, and Ahmed Adheeb. President Yameen immediately declared he would not abide by the apex court’s ruling, and declared a “state of emergency.” The state of emergency suspends a number of rights and gives the security services sweeping powers of search and arrest. The security services used the state of emergency to storm the Supreme Court and arrest the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and Justice at the Supreme Court Ali Hameed.

Withdrawing rights and privileges to the detainees is also unlawful and tantamount to torture under Maldives’ laws and its international obligations.

With the new tactic of arresting wives and children of his political opponents, and critics, President Yameen and the Maldives Police Service are operating entirely outside the limits of the law, and circumventing any due process or common decency. The arresting of children and wives of his critics, is equivalent to operations of criminal gangs.