The Prosecutor General’s Office on Thursday pressed terrorism charges against over 40 individuals accused of setting the Seenu Gan police station on fire on February 8, including Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Rasheed and Addu City Councillor Ahmed Mirzadh.
Terrorism charges carry a jail term of 10 to 15 years.
On February 8, a brutal police crackdown on an MDP march across Male’ sparked riots across the country. The crackdown came after thousands of MDP supporters took to the streets, rallied by former President Mohamed Nasheed who had declared that his resignation the previous day was “under duress.”
In the southernmost atoll of Addu, police stations, police vehicles and a police training academy as well as court buildings were set ablaze.
MDP MP for mid-Hithadhoo constituency, Mohamed Rasheed ‘Matrix Mode’ was arrested in the wake of the violence in Addu City on February 8.
The Prosecutor General’s Office last week pressed charges against 21 people accused of damaging state property.
Trials have already begun for 13 people accused of setting the court house in Hulhudhoo ward of Addu City on fire.
The formerly ruling MDP has meanwhile condemned the “false charges” pressed against “elected representatives of the people of Addu City” and a number of citizens as “politically motivated”.
In a statement on Thursday, the party said it believes the charges represented “a deliberate attempt by the regime to destabilise the country ahead of the Commission of National Inquiry’s report into February’s transfer of power, which is due to be published on August 30.”
“Aside from politically motivated legal action, senior members of Dr Waheed’s regime, including Home Minister Mohamed Jameel, have publicly stated that the regime will arrest President Nasheed and ensure he spends the rest of his life in jail. These statements have been made despite the fact that a trial has not taken place, and while the Minister himself has stated that the ‘judiciary seems to be operating in wanton… and needs to increase public confidence,’” the statement read.