Police have today said that a total of 65 persons have been arrested in the series of protests held by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), criticising the delayed – now annulled – presidential election.
Beginning as part of a pre-election rally on September 27, the protests continued over the following 11 nights after the Supreme Court ordered security forces to stop preparations for the presidential run-off by force if necessary.
In a statement issued today the police said that all of the persons were arrested on charges of objection to order and obstructing police duty.
Police said that the investigation into the cases of 29 persons were concluded and have been forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office to put them on trial.
Allegations of arbitrary and frequent use of pepper spray, beating, strip-searching, frisking, handcuffing and drug testing of MDP supporters were heard during the Parliamentary Privileges Subcommittee last week.
The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) also met with the police after being made aware of allegations that strip searches were being used in an unnecessary and discriminatory manner following the arrest of protesters.
During the HRCM’s meeting with police, it stressed its belief that strip searches were a “degrading and inhuman treatement” that was to be avoided whenever possible.
In a statement issued last Wednesday (October 2) police said they were authorised to frisk and conduct strip-searches under Articles 32-36 of the the Police Powers Act.
According to police 12 persons were released without being taken to the court to extend their detention period, and nine were released by the court when brought before judges for a potential extended detention period.
Police said that 11 persons were released by the court on different conditions.
Police are investigating the cases of 30 persons currently held in custody, whose detention period was extended by the court.
Last night MDP supporters gathered again in front of police barricades at the FDI photo studio, the nearest point protesters could get to the Supreme Court, calling for justice and early elections.
Three persons were taken into custody – also on charges of obstruction of police duty and objection to order.
Following the Supreme Court ruling to cancel the first round of presidential elections and to hold the election again, the MDP has commenced its campaign and ceased the ongoing protests.