Security services to receive medals on Independence Day

The government will award a medal to all police and military officers to mark their services to the state on the occasion of 50 years of independence .

“Officers from both the military and the police will be given medals. This a common practice all around the world, as they protect the country’s independence in the front lines,” the home ministry’s Thazmeel Abdul Samad said.

In an interview with Dhi TV on Monday, commissioner of police Hussein Waheed said the medals will be worn with police uniforms.

The Maldives’ Independence Day falls on July 26.

President Abdulla Yameen officially launched the “Minivan 50″ or “Independence 50″ celebrations on March 12 with a music show.

Since then, the government has slaughtered 150 goats, brought out tens of thousands of students for a parade, organized football competitions, a sky-diving event and a swim between capital Malé and suburb Villimalé.

The government plans to unveil new currency notes and has commissioned a replica of an ancient Maldivian village and a legendary boat used by three Maldivian brothers in the sixteenth century in the guerrilla war against the Portuguese occupation.

The home ministry is expected to announce more events in the coming weeks.

The government has also started decorating the streets of Malé with national flags.

The Independence Day celebrations have drawn criticism over the lack of transparency of expenses made out of the state budget. However, the ‘Independence 50′ office under the home ministry has said that most of the work is done by volunteers.

The opposition has also criticised the government for holding independence celebrations soon after jailing opposition leaders including ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges.

The opposition had held daily protests and two mass demonstrations on February 27 and May 1. Nearly 200 people were arrested from the May Day protest.

The local government authority has meanwhile suspended two councillors three councillors of the Alif Alif atoll council over a resolution declaring they will not participate in activities organised by the government to mark the golden jubilee of independence.

Photo from Commissioner of Police’s official Facebook Page

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Pistol and explosive device found at Nazim’s home, says Police Commissioner

The Maldives Police Services has revealed that it found a pistol and a makeshift explosive device at the home of former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, during a raid on January 18.

Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed told media today that, after searching Nazim’s home using “forced entry”, the police found a 9mm handgun, an improvised explosive device, 3 bullets, and a magazine.

“We did not arrest Nazim at the time because we did not see it as the best course of action to proceed depending on his profile,” said Waheed.  “However as you can see we have prevented him from leaving abroad.”

According to media reports yesterday (January 28), the former minister’s passport was being held by the department of immigration after a court order was issued.

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed – who replaced former Attorney General Azima Shukoor this week – has released a statement this evening denying that the items were there with his client’s knowledge.

“The items claimed to have been found at Colonel Mohamed Nazim’s residence by Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed do not belong to Colonel Nazim or his family, and if there were any items were present at the house, they were there without Colonel Nazim’s or his family’s knowledge,” read the statement.

Commissioner Waheed said this afternoon that the MPS had written to the Maldivian National Defense Force to verify ownership of the weaponry, but was informed that no items were missing from the military’s inventory.

He added that the weapons were “very dangerous” and that while the handgun could be lethal, the explosive device when matched with another component could cause “large scale destruction”.

The commissioner also revealed that a pen drive had been confiscated during the search, containing information that could help the investigation.

“We are still proceeding with the investigation of the case, but we plan to file it with the Prosecutor General’s Office as soon as the investigation is done,” said Waheed.

He maintained that the service was not aware that it was Nazim’s home until after entering, but noted that they had adhered to international best practices and that Nazim was present during the search.

Nazim – who was also acting health minister and head of immigration – was dismissed from his post on January 20, three days after police raid.

Speaking to the media at the time, Nazim said that events had shown no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.

“This gives an alarming signal that entering any house, at any time and to do anything is possible. The defence minister is the most senior official standing beside the president,” he told the press immediately following his dismissal.

Police have since suggested that Nazim was questioned regarding the weapons but that he had failed to adequately respond to the questions.

Nazim is currently being represented by lawyer Hameed – nephew of President Abdulla Yameen – after Azima Shakoor dropped the case yesterday citing “personal reasons”.

*Original article updated at 8:10pm to include a statement from Nazim’s lawyer



Related to this story

Dismissed Defence Minister’ passport held by authorities

Items confiscated by police do not belong to Nazim or his family, say lawyers

Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours

Opposition condemns Defense Minister Nazim’s apartment raid

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Commissioner of Police assigned private security

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed has decided to have a personal security detail for the first time since he was appointed to the post, with media reporting death threats having been made against him.

Spokesperson for the commissioner Superintendent Ahmed Shifan confirmed to Minivan News that Waheed had started using personal security.

“The commissioner has started taking personal security starting today,” said Shifan. “However, information regarding any threats cannot be disclosed at the moment.”

However, Vaguthu has reported a police information officer as saying that police intelligence had received information of some threats made to the commissioner.

Last year saw the repeated instances of SMS death threats against journalists and politicians, with police working alongside the Communication Authority of Maldives to identify the senders.

Source: Vaguthu, Vnews

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Police not only solving crimes, but developing responsible youth: Commissioner Waheed

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed has said the Maldives Police Service is not only aiming to solve and combat crimes, but also to develop a responsible youth community in the country.

Speaking at an award ceremony for the participants of the latest ‘Blues for Youth’ camp, Waheed said that the police are conducting programmes in every island of the country in order to reduce crime while providing opportunities for youth communities.

He highlighted the importance of universal participation in the reduction of crime in the country while claiming that some individuals were trying to incite unrest and violence by holding protests on the streets.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) accused the government last week of attempting to obstruct the party’s demonstrations after launching its first protests since the 2013 presidential elections – claims denied by the police.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has based many of it policies on youth empowerment, with President Yameen noting recently that his major aim was to rebuild the country through opportunities for the youth.

To this end, he has cleared the criminal records of over 2000 young people in the country during his first year in office.

PPM Parliamentary Group Leader Ahmed Nihan recently expressed concern that young people were being labelled as gang members unfairly, although comments by the home minister and a rise in violent crime suggests a persistent problem with gangs in the capital, Malé.

“Youth in these small congregations with young blood will have the courage to defend each other. Small things like that will roll over… It’s true. I know while saying this that some incidents have gone beyond bound,” Nihan was quoted as saying by local media.

Speaking at the ‘Blues for Youth’ event, Waheed also said police would not reveal details of ongoing investigations, regardless of how much pressure was applied. Two cases are currently lodged with the Police Integrity Commission in relation to the missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

The youth camps began shortly after the government took office last year, with the stated aim of broadening the role of youth in national activities, building a healthy young generation, preparing youth for the job market and facilitating opportunities to strengthen assertiveness.

The police also held a road show at the Raalhugandu area this weekend, the starting point for an MDP march, with the aim of raising awareness about road accidents.

The show, held in collaboration with Allied Insurance, included games for children and model displays of accidents.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the road show, Waheed expressed hope that the show will raise awareness amongst the many motorist on Malé roads.



Related to this story

Criminal records cleared for over 2,000 youths, home minister informs parliament

“There is no task too menial or lowly for a Maldivian”, says Home Minister

Yameen pledges to end violent crime at ‘Successful 365 Days’ rally

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Commissioner says arrests made on night of areca palm vandalism unrelated

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed says the arrests made on the night of the areca palm tree felling are unrelated to the case, and that the Maldives Police Service (MPS) is working ceaselessly to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Speaking at a press conference held at MPS Iskandhar Koshi, Waheed also said various allegations made by different people accusing MPS of involvement in the vandalism are baseless and that that it is trying its best to clear itself from such allegations.

In response to a question as to who the people detained are, Waheed replied by saying that MPS knows who was detained and that these people were involved in a wholly unrelated incident.

Yesterday (October 28), former President Mohamed Nasheed submitted details of police officers he believed to behind the vandalism to the Malé City Council after it had requested the public to submit any information.

“How can people who were sleeping at the time of crime know what the names of the perpetrators were even when the police officers on scene did not take their details?” said Waheed in response to Nasheed’s information.

Nasheed had alleged that two men were arrested by Maafannu police at around 3am following the incident before a senior official from the Special Operations (SO) unit arrived and demanded the arrested men to be put into an SO vehicle.

Two officers from Maafannu Police followed the SO vehicle after the arrested men were handed over, only to find that the vehicle entered Iskandhar Koshi police headquarters, explained the former president.

Nasheed also accused one high ranking police official of revising a statement put forward by a Maafannu Police officer at the scene that night, cutting down a two-page statements to half a page and instructing other officers at the station to not speak about the incident.

“Measures would be taken against the people who make false allegations about the MPS which does hard work in order to ensure the protection and the well-being of the community,” warned Waheed.

Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer revealed in a tweet yesterday that he had received Nasheed’s report.

“This govt will NOT ask Police/MNDF to carryout anything unlawful,” wrote Naseer.

The home minister has also instructed all police executives to assist the Police Integrity Commission it any investigation.

A police media official confirmed Minivan News yesterday that a professional standards investigation is being carried out after the increasing prevalence of reports of police involvement in the incident.

MDP Malé MPs voiced their concerns to the media over the increase of crimes in the capital and accused the government of “state sponsored terrorism” in its refusal to take adequate actions for the crimes happening in Malé.

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HRCM uncertain as to state’s actions in Rilwan case

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has again suggested that authorities are not doing enough in the search for missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla.

After seeking updates on the case from both the the foreign minister and attorney general on August 19, the HRCM noted that it had not seen “any further efforts from the state following the appeal”.

“The commission brought Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla’s case to the attention of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of expression through the UN’s special procedures, and the commission has been monitoring the state’s actions in the case of [Rilwan’s] disappearance,” read today’s statement.

Today’s statement said that HCRM members had met with police on August 28, urging them to use all resources to expedite their investigation.

Before working for Minivan News, Rilwan had been an employee of the HRCM between 2010 and 2012.

Calls to speed up the search for Rilwan – last seen on the Malé-Hulhumalé ferry in the early hours of August 8 – have been echoed by numerous international groups, including the UN and Reporters Without Borders.

Neighbours reported seeing a man fitting Rilwan’s description being forced into a vehicle outside his apartment at around 2am on August 8.

The most recent update from police came last week when Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed explained that 80 statements had been taken after questioning nearly 200 people.

Waheed also explained that multiple locations around the capital had been searched, including the lagoon around Hulhumalé, while nearly 300 hours of CCTV were being analysed.

Minivan News also learned last week that the passports of four men were being held in relation to the disappearance.

Working ceaselessly

“As it has been 26 days since Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla disappeared without a trace, the commission has been ceaselessly doing all it can,” read today’s HRCM statement.

Friends and family of Rilwan, also known to his twitter followers as moyameehaa, have also been campaigning tirelessly for greater action on the part of authorities.

Rilwan’s mother has urged all families of victims of violent crime to work together to ensure justice, calling for meeting to be held for all those affected by such incidents in Malé City Hall tonight at 9pm.

“It is the Maldives Police Services tasked with protecting our children and us. It is the courts tasked with ensuring justice for us in times of injustice,” said Aminath Easa in an open letter this week.

“However, we have to work together to expedite their services and hold them accountable,” she continued.

After demonstrating against the People’s Majlis’ failure to adequately address the issue, campaigners have collected over 4000 signatures on a petition calling on relevant authorities to provide answers to question that remain outstanding due to perceived police negligence.

Media groups have also provided a united front in the search for Rilwan, coordinating closely with campaigners to raise awareness of the disappearance.

Additionally, journalists representing all private outlets have jointly expressed grave concern over what they believe to have been an abduction, calling for an end to the persistent intimidation of the press.

Raajje TV’s staff yesterday donned black and blurred presenter’s faces on news segments regarding the disappearance as a show of support for the #findmoyameehaa campaign

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Police Commissioner urges all officers to be patient with inmates

Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed has called on police officers to treat inmates held in Dhoonidhoo in accordance with the law, warning that he will not hesitate to take action against those doing otherwise.

The commissioner noted that inmates in Dhoonidhoo detention centre face the curtailment of some of the basic rights – such as freedom of movement – and that police officers should maintain patience when faced with unsettled detainees.

Waheed also stated that police officers were now being trained to serve inmates in accordance with local and international human rights laws, urging officers to put this training into practice.

He added that he would not accept any police officer committing a crime, noting that sometimes officers have been involved in criminal activities which give a bad name to the whole institution.

On March 16, 2014, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) – in their 2013 annual report – stated that incidents of torture in detention centres were increasing in the Maldives.

Among the issues noted during the commission’s visits, and from complaints received, were detainees being held in cuffs for extended periods, detainees not being provided adequate hygiene and sleeping materials, overcrowded cells, rotten food, and the mistreatment of detainees during transfer.

The report also listed a failure to keep proper records of detainees’ medical, search, and solitary confinement details, as well as a failure to inform the HRCM of arrests.

According to the commission’s report, of a total of 596 recommendations regarding state detention facilities made – including prisons, detention centres, and homes for people with special needs – only 20 percent have been fully implemented.

The rising incidence of torture was reflected in the number of cases submitted, and a total of 72 cases of degrading treatment and torture were submitted within the year.

In December 2013, the parliament passed the Anti-torture Act [Dhivehi] which declares freedom from torture as a fundamental right, ensures respect for human rights of criminal suspects, and prohibits torture in state custody, detention in undisclosed locations, and solitary confinement.

According to the bill, any confession gained through the use of torture should be deemed invalid by the courts.

On June 2, 2013, the man found to have murdered parliament member and prominent religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali, Hussain Humam, retracted his confession to the crime, claiming it had been obtained by police through coercive during his detention.

Last month, Ahmed Murrath – sentenced to death for murder –  was also reported to have appealed his case at the High Court telling  judges that he had been refused access to a doctor during pretrial detention.

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President promises four bilateral agreements during Sri Lanka visit

President Abdulla Yameen and the First Lady Madam Fathimath Ibrahim have today departed on an official state visit to Sri Lanka, where Yameen anticipates four bilateral agreements will be signed.

The President’s Office reported Yameen as saying that the visit was intended to improve the already-strong ties between the two nations, and that the three-day visit would include one-to-one talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Yameen will be accompanied by a large delegation, including coalition partners Gasim Ibrahim and Ahmed Shiyam – of the Jumhooree Party and Maldives Development Alliance, respectively.

Also present on the trip will be Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb, and Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed.

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Allegations of links to criminals dismissed as police celebrate SO Unit achievements

Commissioner of Police (CP) Hussain Waheed has dismissed as “absolutely baseless” allegations made by parliamentarians that the police had connections with criminals and the drug trade.

“The police force is not one that will encourage criminals or have ties with criminals who commit serious offences,” Waheed said at a new year celebration titled ‘SO Night’, held in Iskandhar Koshi on December 31 specifically for officers of the police’s Special Operations unit force.

He stated that, while the services of the police are widely accepted and appreciated by citizens, there have been recent instances where “some individuals have spread baseless rumours with the intention of damaging public trust in the forces”.

The event was held in order to celebrate the achievements of the force over the previous 12 months.

Waheed stated that he will not allow any persons to attempt to create rifts in the “strong and united force nor to damage the public trust in the tough work police conduct to maintain peace and stability in the community”.

Waheed stated that no one better knows the feelings of the public than the police, and that what the public most desire is a calm and peaceful community.

He called on the police to continue serving the people by working with a resolve to maintain a peaceful environment in the country.

Waheed promised the police forces that the leadership will develop infrastructure and human resource support within the year 2014.

Illicit drug trade and abuse

Assuring the public that police will continue to bring those involved in illicit drug trade and abuse to justice through courts of law, Waheed responded to allegations by some parliamentarians that the police were complicit in the drugs trade.

“The illicit drugs that we discover are safely under our care. Relevant authorities will know very well that such contraband are kept safely by us until the time comes to dispose of them as per the legal structure. There is also a mechanism through which one can inquire about the status of such contraband,” Waheed said.

“I am deeply saddened that even with such strong regulations around the matter, some people irresponsibly spread falsified rumours about the police force in a manner that will undermine the trust the public holds in us. There are also independent institutions that can conduct investigations should there be any police officer who is suspected of being involved in anything of the sort,” he expressed.

Allegations from parliamentarians

On December 29, 2013 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ibrahim Rasheed submitted an emergency motion to the parliament in regard to a stabbing incident which had occurred in the previous week.

Speaking in the parliamentary debate on the motion, members from the MDP and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) accused the police of having ties with criminals, gangs, and drug dealers.

Among them, MDP MP Nazim described the police force as a “gang instead of an institution these days”, alleging that the force had dismissed sincere officers and replaced them with people who are accused of having committed serious offences.

CP Waheed, however, last night emphasized that the Special Operations Unit is the “most respected force within the police which all departments look up to”, speaking at last night’s event.

Special Operations Unit

“SO Night” is an annual event held to celebrate various achievements of the Special Operations Unit.

The event concluded with a presentation by the SO department of their achievements in the previous year.

This includes having provided technical support 219 times to various other police departments, controlling 57 public protests, and conducting 55 special operations and 23 trips to manage situations in the atolls.

The presentation also noted that in all their annual work, the SO had only made use of pepper-spray as a weapon, noting that it had been used a total of 55 times.

Among other statistics shared at the event, the SO unit stated that “in all of the year, 40 SO officers were summoned to the Police Integrity Commission and 2 SO officers were summoned to the Human Rights Commission. In handling the various situations, 50 SO officers suffered injuries of different levels”.

SO Department Head Chief Inspector Ahmed Shameem stated that the unit had not resorted to the use of rubber bullets or tear gas in controlling any of the situations that arose in 2013.

He stated that the unit had refrained from using these weapons, not because they did not have them, but because of their professionalism and their capability to deal with the situations in other ways.

Celebrating the work of SO officers who had contributed notably to the department’s work, certificates of appreciation were given to officers who were a part of a number of operations, among which a key activity is Operation Blue Wave – the security operation conducted during the 2013 presidential election.

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