20 March 2018, Male’: The Maldives Criminal Court on Monday extended the detention of Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and MDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ali Azim for a further nine days each.
MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is one of the most senior politicians in the Maldives and has spearheaded the joint opposition’s parliamentary work in the past year.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Ali Azim were arrested under State of Emergency powers — which are supposed to in serious matters of national security — Maldives Police said in court that both MPs were accused of two misdemeanors of obstruction to police duty by entering the Republic Square.
In Court, both lawmakers were denied the protection they are entitled under the Parliament Members Privileges and Immunities Act, which would, for instance, allow him to attend parliamentary sessions while he is in detention, even though the Act was not suspended under the State of Emergency.
Furthermore, they were subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in Dhoonidhoo detention facility.
MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is being kept in a cell with a broken fan, which is exposed to direct sunlight from 9 am to 3pm, making it suffocatingly hot. Moreover, after his arrest, the police deliberately delayed in giving his medication for a cardiac problem, as well as fresh clothes, which his family has sent to Dhoonidhoo. MP Azim, is kept in similar conditions.
Systematic Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment
President Yameen’s regime is deliberately and systematically subjecting detainees, arrested since he imposed his unlawful State of Emergency on 5 February.
Dozens of detainees, including Members of Parliament, are routinely denied medical treatment, kept in filthy and hot cells, forced to endure unsanitary conditions, and given drinking water that is suspected of causing mouth infections.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s treatment highlights the extent to which President Yameen is shamelessly using the State of Emergency as an excuse to crack down on his political opponents.
Other detainees who are suffering from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment include MP Faris Maumoon.
On 16 March, six policemen physically dragged Faris out of his cell in Dhoonidhoo, injuring his shoulder. The Dhoonidhoo doctor prescribed that Faris should undergo a medical check in Male’, but the police refused to take Faris for a further 24 hours.
Other detainees have complained of dirty water and unsanitary conditions, and that the police routinely deny them medical and dental treatment.
President Yameen appears to be conducting a deliberate policy of mistreatment and abuse towards detainees.
Commenting on the mistreatment of detainees, a MDP spokesperson said:
“President Yameen’s policy of abuse towards detainees is tantamount to torture. This is in violation of the Maldives Constitution, which prohibits all forms of torture, and international laws to which the Maldives is party.
President Yameen, and everyone down the chain of command right to the prison guards, will be held criminally responsible for this abuse once the regime falls.”