8 March 2018, MALE’: Special Operations Police stormed the head office of the Maldivian Democratic Party this afternoon, and arresting three senior party officials under unlawful ’State of Emergency’ powers.
National Council members Ilyas Labeeb and Hassan Ahmed, and Membership and Campaign Committee member Ahmed Shahid were arrested at the office in Male’, while they were attending the daily coordination meeting.
The three arrests add to a growing list of party officials, MPs, judges, and members of the security forces who have been detained since President Yameen imposed an illegal State of Emergency on 4 February.
At least 110 people have been arrested since the start of the Emergency, with over 40 detained under ‘State of Emergency’ powers, meaning that there are no charges against them nor will they be brought before a court of law. Those arrested include the Chief Justice, another Supreme Court Justice, former President Gayoom, two former Commissioners of Police and a handful of MPs.
According to reports, around 50 members of the security services are also in one form of detention: a number of soldiers are being held incommunicado in their barracks; while several Special Operations police have been arrested over the past two weeks and are being held in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre.
On 6th March, former police commissioner Ahmed Areef was arrested and transported to Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre. President Yameen sacked him on 2nd February because he said the police would uphold the Supreme Court ruling of 1 February, ordering the release of political leaders and reinstatement of opposition MPs.
The latest arrests come as President Yameen finds it impossible to quell daily anti-government protests in Male’ and other islands across the country.
Meanwhile, the Maldivian economy is said to be losing US$ 20 million per day since the State of Emergency was declared, due to cancelled tourism arrivals.
MDP spokesperson Imthiyaz Fahmy said the latest arrests were “another attempt, by Yameen, who is desperately trying to cling onto power. Yameen has no legitimacy and little authority left. He should put the country first and resign.”