Former state minister released from custody

Former State Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Mahir Easa was released from police custody shortly after midnight last night, hours before a High Court hearing on an appeal against the Criminal Court ruling extending his detention.

Mahir was arrested on July 24 on charges of allegedly inciting violence against police during a speech at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally.

Mahir had said he would not hesitate to cross police barricades to restore the MDP government.

The MDP last week called for Mahir’s immediate release arguing that since police possessed both Mahir’s statement and a recording of his speech, there was no reason to keep the former state minister detained.

Following his arrest, the Criminal Court extended Mahir’s detention period by 10 days twice, the last of which was appealed at the High Court.

The High Court hearing scheduled for 10.30am today was reportedly cancelled following Mahir’s release.

A police media official told newspaper Haveeru that Mahir was released after police concluded the investigation into his alleged incitement to violence, explaining that police routinely released suspects before the detention period expired.

On February 7, Mahir was beaten outside the police headquarters while mutinying police officers and opposition protesters called for him to be killed.