A journalist from newspaper Haveeru has been taken into custody in Addu City today allegedly for taking photographs of police officers in plainclothes who were frisking people at the Feydhoo harbour.
The local daily quoted a Feydhoo resident as saying that that the officers approached Ahmed Adshan – who is based in Addu City – and insisted that the reporter could not take pictures.
“They did not have police tags or names. So Adshan asked them to show their police cards. They asked Adshan to show his card. [But] because they didn’t show their cards, Adshan didn’t show his,” the Feydhoo resident said.
Police have meanwhile insisted that Adshan was arrested for both driving without a license and obstructing police duty.
However, a source from the island told the newspaper that he was unable to meet Adshan at the police station and was told that the journalist was not in custody for a traffic violation.
A friend of Adshan who was with him at the time of the arrest said that Adshan attempted to take photos after parking his motorcycle and that he had a valid driving license.
In September 2012, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the growing number of arbitrary arrests of journalists by the Maldives Police Service.
The press freedom NGO said in a statement that it “deplores the repeated obstruction of media personnel in the course of their work and urges the government to put a stop to arrests designed to intimidate journalists and encourage self-censorship.”