Court hears witnesses in February 8 arson attack on Thinadhoo police station

The Juvenile Court has taken the statements of seven witnesses produced in defence of the minors charged with an arson attack on Thinadhoo Police Station in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll during the anti-government protest on February 8, 2012.

The incident followed the controversial transfer of presidential power and was accompanied by widespread unrest across the country.

The juvenile court’s media official told local media that there would be one more hearing scheduled before delivering the verdict where the state and respondents will be allowed to submit their final statement and last words.

According to the media official one of the four minors produced one witness in his defence, while a second minor produced six witnesses.

The court refused to give details of what the defence witnesses said due to the nature of the case.

However, the court confirmed that the next hearing was scheduled to next Monday (19 November).

Journalists and the public are not allowed to enter the hearings of cases conducted at the Juvenile Court.

Juvenile Court Spokesperson Zaeema Nasheed did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

February 8 was a day which saw protests erupt across the country after a brutal police crackdown on a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest against the party’s controversial ousting from power the previous day.

Protestors on Gaaf Dhaalu Atoll Thinadhoo set fire to the police station, magistrate court, atoll council office, and all police vehicles. Nine policemen were attacked and subsequently treated at the Thinadhoo Regional Hospital. Police officials at the time declared the area unsafe for local policemen as “MDP supporters have threatened to attack the residences of policemen.”

Initially the police requested the Prosecutor General (PG) to charge 108 persons in connection with the unrest.

The PG pressed terrorism charges against the minors under article 6 (b), with reference to article 2 (f,g) of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

Article 6 (b) states that any person found guilty of the act of terrorism shall be sentenced between 10 and 15 years imprisonment or banishment.