The Criminal Court has ordered main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MPs Ali Waheed and Ahmed Mahlouf to appear before the court to face charges of obstruction of police duty.
Mahlouf told Minivan News today that the case was most likely regarding a DRP protest held outside the presidential residence Muleeage earlier this year that led to violent confrontations with riot police.
”Yesterday Ali Waheed and I received a chit from the Criminal Court saying that a hearing would be conducted on the 29th [Monday],” he received. ”It stated that the charges were ‘obstructing police duty’.”
The DRP MP for Galolhu North added that ”unlike president Mohamed Nasheed, we do not go breaking laws one after the other.”
”That night we were not obstructing police duties and we were not engaging in any unlawful activities,” he insisted. “We were exercising our right to free expression and freedom of assembly.”
Mahlouf said that he was “very pleased” that President Nasheed decided to prosecute him because ”the international community would understand how democratic Nasheed is.”
”He says he would never arrest [opposition] politicians, but he is arresting and charging young politicians and MPs in the country,” he said.
The DRP protest in January that marched to Muleeage turned violent, resulting in injuries to both police officers and demonstrators.
Following the unrest, Ali Waheed and Mahloof were summoned to police headquarters and questioned about their role in the protest.
At the time, Mahloof and Ali Waheed, also DRP Deputy Leader, exercised their right to remain silent.
Regulations currently in place on public gatherings, enforced by presidential decree under the former government, prohibits demonstrations outside certain designated areas, including Muleeage and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters.