A group of five angry middle-aged men entered the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) offices at 10:00am on Tuesday and threatened to assault the five commissioners.
According to HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoud, the group was unhappy over a statement issued by the commission on Monday condemning the police’s mistreatment of former President Mohamed Nasheed at the Criminal Court.
The HRCM statement had condemned the police’s disproportionate use of force against Nasheed, and urged the state to immediately extend medical attention and access to a lawyer.
The commission said it was “investigating the police’s brutal treatment of the former president.”
Jeehan said the group threatened to harm the five commission members and demanded a meeting immediately. When HRCM staff declined, the group threatened to harass the members on the street.
“Inciting hatred and violence and issuing threats is an offence,” she said.
According to Jeehan, members of the public frequently harass HRCM, alleging the commission is biased and does not exercise its powers fully.
“But this is the first time in a while that we’ve had such a direct threat of bodily harm. However, this will not affect out work at all,” she said.
The statement had been approved by all five members of the commission and signed by its Secretary General, Jeehan noted.
The Maldives Police Services have confirmed the case is under investigation.
Nasheed is currently being held in pre-trial detention at the Dhoonidhoo Island Detention Centre. He is charged with terrorism over the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
Speaking to Raajje TV after a visit with Nasheed, his wife Laila Ali revealed that doctors said there was an injury to the former president’s shoulder and recommended he undergo physiotherapy for a week.
A police spokesperson confirmed Nasheed had seen a doctor at Medica Clinic in Malé at 2:20pm yesterday. Neither his family nor lawyers were informed.
The police had manhandled Nasheed when he attempted to answer questions posed by journalists upon his arrival at the Justice Building at 4:00pm on Monday.
Minivan News journalists observed Nasheed repeatedly asking the police to pull back, saying he would walk into the court room on his own accord. Villa TV cameramen captured footage of a police officer twisting Nasheed’s thumb.
Nasheed fell down and his shirt was torn in the process. Half an hour later, he appeared in court with his arm in a makeshift sling.
The opposition leader said his arm was broken and asked for immediate medical attention and right to legal counsel. Presiding Judge Abdulla Didi ignored his request and proceeded with the trial.
The Maldives Police Services have denied brutalising Nasheed and dismissed his claim of a broken arm, claiming the former president had staged his own fall while resisting police attempts to escort him into the court building.
The EU, UN, Commonwealth, India, US and Canada have expressed concern over Nasheed’s arrest and trial. Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has since hit back at international statements, claiming they were biased towards the opposition and poorly researched.
Speaking on TVM’s “Maldives Today” programme on Monday night, Presidential Affairs Minister Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussein Shareef accused Nasheed of playing “stunts” in order to get international media attention and said such incidents tarnished Maldives’ image.
Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb said Nasheed must be tried and penalised to ensure justice is done to Judge Abdulla Mohamed and his family.
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