10 March 2018, Male’: The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) today slammed telecoms firm Dhiraagu, after the company conspired with President Yameen to hack the phone of a regime critic and former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.
Earlier in the week, social media activist Thayyib Shaheem, a Dhiraagu client, found that his phone number had been disconnected without his knowledge and reassigned to a third party.
The third party was the Maldives Police Service, who used the phone number to access Thayyib’s social media accounts and change the passwords.
Thayyib accused Dhiraagu of cloning his sim card, and passing it to the police.
Dhiraagu first refused to comment, but later admitted in a letter that the company had provided the police with access to Thayyib’s phone. Thayyib has since managed to recover access to his social media accounts. Lawyers have described Dhiraagu’s behaviour and the actions of the police as unlawful.
MDP spokesperson said:
“Nobody can trust Dhiraagu anymore. They appear more than willing to sell out their customers’ privacy to curry favour with an illegal, illegitimate and corrupt regime; that says everything you need to know about the state of the Maldives.”
Thayyib was detained for a month in March 2017 and falsely accused of ‘inciting fear and sowing discord’ regarding tweets he posted that were critical of the regime’s handling of the H1N1 outbreak.
In 2016, Dhiraagu’s non-executive Chairperson Mohamed Ashmalee caused controversy when he said that he hoped the Sri Lankan Airlines flight carrying former President Nasheed from Male’ to Colombo would “just crash into the sea.” Alongside President Nasheed, over 100 passengers and crew were on board the flight.