Court releases judge’s brother arrested for arson

The prosecutor general’s office has appealed the Maalhos magistrate court’s release of a man arrested on suspicion of torching two boats and a speedboat in Baa Kendhoo on April 24.

According to local media, the suspect, Abdul Salam Yousuf, 42, from the Morning House in Kendhoo, is the brother of criminal court judge Abdul Bari Yousuf.

Judge Bari was part of a three-judge panel that sentenced former President Mohamed Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim in March.

The magistrate court in Baa Maalhos had extended Salam’s remand detention twice, but reportedly refused to grant a third extension. He had been held in police custody for 20 days.

The owner of the vessels said at the time that the fire caused damages worth MVR3 million (US$194,931). The boats and speedboat were made of fibreglass and were completely destroyed.

The owner also said the perpetrator had broken into his petrol shed and stolen gasoline.

The owner is a member of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

A few days after the incident, a car owned by an MDP activist was set on fire in the Feydhoo ward of Addu City.

Both incidents occurred ahead of a mass anti-government rally planned for May 1.

Local media reported at the time that according to eyewitnesses two masked men carrying knives set the car on fire around 6:45am on April 28.

The car’s owner, Mohmed Thoriq told Minivan News at the time that some windows of his house also caught on fire as the car was parked in front.

“My mother saw the flames and woke me up crying,” he said.

“In total with cost of the windows of the house and the car, this is about MVR 230, 000 worth of damages for me,” he said.