Amnesty calls on government to investigate allegations of sexual harassment of female detainees by police

Amnesty International has called on the government to investigate allegations that police beat and sexually harassed four women detained during an anti-government rally.

“While in detention they were forced to undergo naked body checks on the spurious suspicion of concealing drugs in their genitals. They were forced to strip and squat several times while in prison,” Amnesty stated, after gathering testimony from the women.

“There is no indication that the women protesters were involved in any acts of violence during the rally. Their detention therefore was arbitrary. Cases of molestation and other humiliating sexual acts against women have been reported in the past, but these latest allegations highlight a new police drive to suppress political activity under the pretext of body searching female detainees for alleged possession of drugs,” the human rights organisation stated.

“The beating and sexual harassment of political detainees under the pretext that they are suspected of possessing drugs must end. None of the four women detainees had been arrested on that suspicion so there was no justification for the searches, said Amnesty researcher Abbas Faiz.

Amnesty sought testimony from four women.

Twenty-two year-old Yusra Hussein told Amnesty that she was arrested by four female officers on March 19, who “beat me as they handcuffed me. They beat me on my stomach, which was very painful as I had had a caesarean section in the past. They grabbed my breasts and twisted them.”

After she was taken to Dhoonidoo detention centre, “They beat me with electric cables. I still have marks of their beating on my body. They then forced me to strip naked and made me squat on the floor. They took a urine test and did a body check on me.

“They forced me to sit in that position for a body check several time. Each time I felt sick but they paid no attention. They just wanted to humiliate me as they were shouting filthy words at me all the while,” Hussein told Amnesty.

Aishath Muna told Amnesty that police arrested her after she had taken another female protester to hospital.

“Police had pepper sprayed the protester and she had been feeling sick. When Aishath Muna returned to the MDP offices, two police women arrested her. She said the handcuffs which they used on her were very tight. She complained but they took no notice. She was then taken to Dhoonidhoo detention centre where she was forced to take off her clothes and undergo a body check,” Amnesty reported.

Another woman, 44 year-old Mariyam Waheeda, told Amnesty International that two women police officers who detained her on 19 March beat her “and dragged her along the floor. They grabbed her breasts and twisted them while handcuffing her. She said they took her to the police station and only released her after she convinced them she had not taken part in the protest rallies.”

The fourth woman, Aishath Aniya, “said she had been forced to undergo a urine test, was made to take off her T-shirt, bra and jeans, and was told to squat three times.”

“The Maldives has an image as a luxury holiday destination, and over the past few years, it had established a positive track record on human rights. But the fact is at the moment, not only is repression of peaceful political protest an everyday reality, it has taken an appalling new twist with this cruel and degrading treatment,” said Faiz.

“The government of Maldives must ensure that these allegations are investigated and that those found to be responsible are brought to justice.”

Amnesty noted the police response denying the allegations and recommendation that the women concerned contact the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM).

“HRCM has told Amnesty International that they have serious limitations in terms of trained investigative staff and dealing with human rights issues in a highly politicised environment is an overwhelming challenge for them,” Amnesty noted.

“By referring cases of police abuse of power to the HRCM, when it is clear that such investigations are beyond its capacity, the government is in effect forfeiting its own responsibility to enforce respect for human rights within the police force,” said Faiz.

HRCM had yet to complete investigations into the alleged sexual harassment of female detainees in 2004, Amnesty noted.

“This is the wrong message to give to the police as it will encourage police officers to violate human rights with impunity. The Maldives government must ensure that the right to freedom of assembly and expression is protected at all times.”

HRCM is currently investigating former President Mohamed Nasheed’s detention of chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed. Former Home Minister Hassan Afeef was summoned for questioning yesterday.


17 thoughts on “Amnesty calls on government to investigate allegations of sexual harassment of female detainees by police”

  1. Amnesty International :Why dont you call for religious freedom in the Maldives? Why dont you call against the oppression in the name of religion? And why not against jailing for 6 months for growing brinjal trees?

  2. The MHRC and Police Integrity Commission are both politicized and lacks capacity. It is high time they condemn the police brutality but they always blame unarmed protesters. Police are professionally trained people with riot gear and weapons. Moreover they are also trained to control anger and restrain from using excessive force against unarmed civilians. However they instigate violence and find means to arrest people, so that people will be intimidated to exercise freedom of expression granted to the under constitution.

  3. I have the feeling that Minivan is a little overdoing this sexual abuse thing...

    But here is one piece of advice for MDP. No ruler can rule against the police and military. Even if they are tin solders, or brainless robots, you have to respect them or atleast show civility if you want to use them in your administration. so making all this drama about sex and protestsers and defaming military wil work to your disadvantage pals. stop it now and say something truthful for a change!!!

  4. yes.. Amnesty should seriously call to revise the constitution which will allow Maldivians to live a free life.. instead of paying lip service to get more badges.. the root of the problem is Maldivian do not have freedom of conscience and this is exploited...

  5. @Ismail, you better urge Amnesty International to go to UK to ban homo sexual and lesbian marriages before they utter a single world to have religious freedom in the Maldives. Shame on guys like you!!!

  6. @AlamRepr
    Staggering comment of corruption from you. Did you pay the police and army on the 7th too?
    Their role is to serve the President and the people.

  7. Agree with @Ibrahim mohamed! I feel the HRCM and PIC should not be issuing politically motivated statements when they know very well they do not do their jobs properly!

  8. "The Maldives has an image as a luxury holiday destination, and over the past few years, it had established a positive track record on human rights...."
    Cant MDP do anything without dragging the Maldivian tourism industry into it ?
    In 2004, when Gayyoom was in power Maldives resorts were called to be boycotted by Friends of Maldives and MDP. They wanted to cripple the Maldivian tourism industry back then by initiating media campaigns against Maldives resorts, so as to decrease the number of tourists to Maldives and pressure the Gayyoom govt back then. To that end they initiated several activities such as media campaigns and distributing leaflets in official functions to international diplomats portraying the Maldives as a violent and backwards nation, unsafe for international tourists. Friends of Maldives were fully aware back then that their actions would harm Maldives tourism industry and that most of the harm would be incurred by Maldivian citizens themselves. Yet they continued, because they wanted to further MDP's political objectives, ie: a fall in tourists would cause serious difficulties to the Maldivian govt then heavily dependant on tourism money, and MDP pursued that goal fully aware and not caring about the harm to Maldivian citizens and families who would be greatly harmed by MDP's and Friends of Maldives tourism damaging media campaigns.

    However, in 2008 when Anni was voted into power, the resorts which MDP had been calling to boycott suddenly became diamonds to MDP. Friends of Maldives ceased their tourism damaging campaign about Maldives. The human rights abuses which Friends of Maldives had been talking about vanished along with the organisation itself. MDP started to promote the very tourism industry they had intially set out to destroy back then in Gayyoom's era.

    This again changed after Feb 07 2012, with the resignation of Anni and the fall of MDP from power. Friends of Maldives resurfaced yet again, and began their campaigns to damage the Maldivian tourism industry and cripple it once again. To that end, MDP has established websites urging foreigners to boycott Maldivian resorts. Farahanaaz Faisal, the former UK ambassador to UK, is working tirelessly now in UK actively trying to deter as many tourists as possible from going to Maldivian resorts and slander the tourism industry’s name along with that of the nation..

    Doesnt anyone else see a pattern here ?
    When Gayyoom was in power resorts were bad, and foreign tourists were being advised to not come here. When Anni was voted in as president, then those same resorts became good. However now with the fall of MDP, the resorts of Maldives has become bad once again.

    Doesnt this stand as sufficient proof that MDP never really cared for Maldives resorts, or Maldivian resortworkers and their families, and only cares about furthering their political objectives even if it means harms to thousands of Maldivians and their families ?

    Friends of Maldives should change their name to "Friends of MDP, Enemies of Maldivian Citizens, Destroyer of Maldives Tourism (when MDP isnt in power)."

  9. Mr.Ismail Nazim you are truly a Maldivian nut.

    what would you have said someone even look in a different manner at you mother, wife or sister. Sure the words might be different. this not about MDP, DRP or PPM. this about police and other law enforcement bodies doing whats right.

  10. @Ismail, do you believe that Maldives is running into dogs, because there is no religious freedom here?? Have a careful study where freedom of religion and sex are wide open, they are much worse than us. It's like many of us are conditioned to believe that anything that comes from the Whites of the West are incomparably better to the humanity and even animal kingdom than what we Muslims and Asians have from time immemorial to date. Let us always look for what is most applicable to our country, it's harmony, integrity and welfare in general. Like fools, let us not fall headlong into the traps of globalists who practice under various slogans.

  11. A country that belongs to Gayyoom & his cronies shall not sustain DEMOCRACY......We all are experiencing this truth today....Look! Gayyoom is charming now as his fellow-men like Deen, Qasim, Umar Naseer and the likes did their assigned task well....Please remember that an AUTHORITARIAN shall never ever support a DEMOCRATIC system even at his last breath on Earth...May Allah SWT guide Gayyoom & his supporters to the right path, Ameen

  12. We all know Amnesty International. They survive or should I say make big money issuing reports. They normally issue reports which ever way is most profitable for them.
    Discredited organization!

  13. Who is Amnesty International to interfere in our (Maldivain Internal Affairs). All this is about Christianizing us. Why not they talk about sexual harrasements from Mad Dogs in the Maldives. Why not they wipe over their eyes to see what is going on here clearly. We are of the opinion Nasheed has no right to rule this Muslim Nation. Forget about it.

  14. Madives economy works aurond fishing tourism; latter money . English spoken throughout. a scuba diving sea exploration. nation's top dive sites facilitates such experiences. Cruises commonplace  tourists average temperature a tropical 29 degrees Celsius.


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