Former prisons chief interrogated after release of DPRS torture photos

Former Prisons Division Head with the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Serivces (DPRS) Isthafa Ibrahim Manik has been detained and questioned by police, after disturbing photographs of tortured victims in custody were obtained by the Presidential Commission and leaked to the media.

Manik remains in custody at Maafushi after the courts granted police a 15-day extension of detention.

The photos released so far include images of men tied to coconut palms, caged, and bloodied. One of the photos, of a prisoner lying on a blood-soaked mattress, has a 2001 date stamp.

A senior government official told Minivan News that the photos were obtained by the Commission from the DPRS itself on Monday, and that those released “are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Inspector of Police Abdulla Nawaz confirmed in a statement to the state broadcaster MNBC that the matter involved severe cases of torture and suspected fatalities, and had been passed to police.

“Former heads of the Prisons Division will be interrogated,” he said. “We will also question former ministers if it is believed that they were involved,” he added, claiming that police would withhold the identities of some of those summoned for questioning.

One of the pictures, reportedly obtained from the DPRS

National Security Advisor and former Defence Minister Ameen Faisal, a member of the Presidential Commission, told MNBC that prison records had revealed that inmates were punished without court order “and subjected to inhumane torture and ill-treatment.”

“This commission has received information that some inmates who were tortured ended up dead,” Faisal said.

Many members of the current government, including President Mohamed Nasheed and Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem, claim to have been tortured under the former administration.

“They were limited only by their imagination,” Naseem said, describing the describing the former government’s treatment of prisoners as “medieval”.

Gayoom’s spokesperson Mohamed Hussein ‘Mundhu’ Shareef told Haveeru that the government’s arrest of the former head of prisons was the “the third part of the drama” in a long-plotted lead up to the arrest of the former president.

“The attempt to arrest President Maumoon will only boost his profile. We see this simply as the government’s attempt to divert the people’s attention from the dollar crisis and rising commodity prices,” Shareef told Haveeru.

The Presidential Commission has previously summoned Gayoom, who refused to appear.

In October 2010, President Nasheed’s high profile support of elderly historian Ahmed Shafeeq, who has alleged that 111 people died in custody under the former administration and that he himself had been arrested and his diaries destroyed, prompted Gayoom to write to the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

In the letter, Gayoom appealed for pressure to be placed on President Mohamed Nasheed following “the escalation of attempts to harass and intimidate me and my family.”

The matter, he told the British PM, involved “unsubstantiated allegations by an elderly man by the name of Ahmed Shafeeq that I had, during my tenure as President, ordered the murder of 111 dissidents.”

“In a book authored by this Shafeeq, which was ceremoniously released [on October 10] by Mohamed Nasheed himself, it is accused that I also ordered the man’s arrest and supposed torture in prison. In a country of just over 300,000, it is safe to assume that even one ‘missing person’ would not go unnoticed, let alone 111.”

Men chained to coconut palms

Nasheed’s government had “escalated its attempts to harass me” in the run up to the local council elections, Gayoom wrote, despite his retirement from politics.

“After the government’s defeat in last year’s parliamentary elections, the popularity ratings of the ruling MDP have fallen further in recent months as a result of the government’s failure to deliver on its campaign promises, and its lack of respect for the law.”

“On the other hand,” Gayoom told the British PM, “I continue to enjoy the strong support, love and affection of the people, and have been voted by the public as ‘Personality of the Year’ in both years since stepping down from the presidency.”


17 thoughts on “Former prisons chief interrogated after release of DPRS torture photos”

  1. DRP needs to distance itself with those with dirty and bloody hands. Just as MDP needs to distance itself with corrupt people who just joins MDP for some type of worldly reason.

    Also people really need to start thinking with the brains that God gave and not just believe the words that come out of every politicians mouth. If you like the British or Western people, you can see that the youth in these countries do not believe their politicians words just like that. They are always questioning and critical of their politicians every move. So if you love the west, than atleast follow it that way. If you like the Middle East uprising, than again try to understand the reason behind the uprisings. It is because they were fundamentally against corruption and corrupt figures with BIG Mouths. They did not allow the corrupt figures to join them in demonstrations because they knew that those figures are part of the problem.

    If you have good intention and think smart from the start, than there would be less problems. Both sides has its mess to clean up and people should question both sides and not just blame on one side for any problem.

  2. Better late than never.
    I can only hope that justice will be served.

  3. Can’t understand why people have to talk and make example of west and dirty Arabs.
    Why can’t we be just being Maldivians?

  4. “On the other hand,” Gayoom told the British PM, “I continue to enjoy the strong support, love and affection of the people, and have been voted by the public as ‘Personality of the Year’ in both years since stepping down from the presidency.”


    Cameron (to assistant): Please put this in "Demented Narcissist Dictators' Funny Quotes File", this quote will remind me that whatever happens to me in politics, there are bigger losers in this world.

  5. I fear we are yet to see more than our fair share of "demented narcissist dictators" in our lifetime peasant my dear friend.

    I hate to repeat myself. So I'll do it in point form.

    - One party rule either in fact or de jure is impending.

    - All this follows the observations made in Elizabeth Overton's thesis on the ruling elite of this country. A few variations here and there but most of it remains the same. i.e. - Gayyoom (figurehead for earlier ruling Clan) gets government, gets rid of contenders. Contenders return with a vengeance and Anni (figurehead for current ruling Clan) bites back hard. Probably Yamin or Munavvar or someone gets really pissed off in the process and eventually takes their revenge on the current ruling Clan. Lather, rinse, repeat....

  6. I am glad the time has come to bring these torturers to Justice.

  7. Why has the issue popped up all of sudden? Didn't this government find the pictures before? Why hasn't this government brought those who committed genocide at the prison to justice when from day one they had access to all documents and evidences.

    Apparently the torture card is played because god knows what it was to counter. It may well be to aimed at stopping the former President from behaving a little more aggressively. When Maumoon pokes his head and opens his mouth, a counter measure is taken to silence him.

    The fact he responds to governments moves by going in to political apnea shows that he is vulnerable and feels guilty.

    There is little doubt that prisoners were systematically abused by an organized and dedicated team of torturers who took every pleasure of beating helpless men. Clearly the entire hierarchy was aware of what was going on in the jails and they did nothing to stop what was going on.

    Those responsible should be brought to justice and the investigation should not be conditional on political deal making.

  8. tsk tsk-

    There are differences between the class of 2011 and 1981. Do you notice after recent elections, there were no major accusations of bias or vote rigging toward the Elections Commission? I bring this up because when an institution works without bias, everybody benefits and now the risk of rigging an election far outweighs the repercussions if caught.

    The same level of professionalism does not exist in the judiciary and obviously it does not command any respect. The DRP had good reason to keep the judiciary in their favour and they did. In their hegemonic zeal they also got the independent press in the bag along with the MFJ. With the lame duck judiciary ignoring all their pleas, what did you expect from the MDP cat cornered from all sides? Now the consequences of getting caught does not outweigh the cost of doing nothing.

    We do have an electoral democracy and what MDP does with their new found clout at the Majlis will decide if they get re-elected.

  9. Why is this issue being taken up right now?..simple because the yellow govt have failed to deliver on thier promises and the country in a dark abyss this is exactly what they need to keep angry kids like Peasant entertained....Nothing good will come out of this..and shows how pathetic and stupid this MDP is...They say hes demented and now wants to prosecute him...What??

  10. The dark, unfathomable depth of Maumoon's vanity must be exposed for what it is; pure, bloodthirsty evil. The depth of Maumoon's narcissism would remind me of the evil the Queen - the Wicked Witch in the Snow White story, were not for the fact it was so terrifyingly real. Maumoon, he of the serene mask with the devil's heart.

  11. It enrages me to know that people suffered to this extent so that Maumoon could feel adored, beautiful in Theemuge.' It makes my heart burn with fierece sadness and rage to learn that people's hearts are still so seduced by the mind numbing charms of Maumoon, that in their drug like bliss, they cannot feel compassion or humanity, those feelings are numb.

    I wish all were strong enough to shake off the delusion, to fight off the effects of Maumoon's artificial benevolence and to see the truth, that he is a blood thirsty tyrant who does not have the capacity to genuinely care for anybody but himself, and desires that all degrade, dehumanize and utterly lose their own souls worshipping him.

  12. Mumdhudhu is such a puppet that he has no idea what he is talking about. Maumoon used Ali Waheed the same during the last elections. Those who have no empathy towards people who suffered under Maumoons or anyone elses torture regime please try to refrain from making comments that makes the tortured suffer more. There are many in this country trying silently to deal with what they went through. At least have some respect for those people. Citizens of Maldives must try our best to ensure people of this country are never again subjected to systemized torture like in the past.

  13. Well said Aishath! Those who didn't go through the torture do not have any inkling what it entails to keep on living after the harassment. So they should just shut up. They will only know how it feels if/ when their own people go through it. I feel for those families that suffered at the hands of the biggest dictator in the universe!

  14. "..simple because the yellow govt have failed to deliver on thier promises and the country in a dark abyss this is exactly what they need to keep angry kids like Peasant entertained…."

    Well, if the due course of my entertainment leads to justice for the victims of these horrendous crimes, why do you have a problem with it?

  15. it is no drama when u see pictures of that kind. when do those guys realise it is time to let go of "zaeem" do some hardcore opposition work?

  16. Now that the long over due investigations have started, we have to move ahead rapidly and arrest all those who were responsible for the torture of prisoners in jails.

    Simultaneously we have to arrest those who have looted the treasury and those who have embezzled State funds in the millions of dollars.

    Mundhu can scream all he wants. His Master was behind all these and must be held accountable. We will not accept anything less.

    The Government must establish a Special Tribunal instead of letting the Criminal Court to hear these cases. The Presidential Commission must be given the power to prosecute these crooks.

    Some names of people who need to be arrested quickly and brought to justice (in no particular order) are:-

    1. Maumoon -For ordering torture and for looting the treasury as well as embezzlement of State funds. The list is too long to write here.

    2. Yameen - assisting torture, dealing in drugs, forging currency, embezzlement of State Funds including millions of dollars in illicit oil trade.

    3. Adam Zahir - for torture and abuse of prisoners and cracking down on pro democracy activists just to name a few.

    4. Mohamed Rasheed Ibrahim - For abuse of his position as Chief Justice and assisting Maumoon to sentence innocent people who were seen as political enemies by Maumoon.

    5. Ilyas Ibrahim - For over seeing torture of prisoners while Minister of Defense and for embezzlement of State Funds while incharge of STO and Ministry of Trade

    6. Abbas Ibrahim - For terrorism . responsible for arson and other such activities against political enemies of the family. Corruption too.

    7. Abdulla Hameed - Corruption and embezzlement of state funds. Actively involved in suppressing political enemies real or imagined.

    8. Qasim Ibrahim - For Financing Gayyoom to carry out a reign of terror and torture.

    9. Shuaib Shah - Master minding suppression of political opponents and for corruption. Using his 'position' in the family for various financial gains.

    10. Dhunya Maumoon - For Corruption and assisting Shuaib in his criminal activities.

    11. Gassan Maumoon - For terrorism. Leading thugs to attack political enemies.

    12. Umar Zahir - Overseeing attacks on political enemies under the orders of Maumoon and assisted by Adam Zahir.

    13. Azima Shakoor - For providing "legal" cover to Maumoon to suppress pro democracy activities and hiding incriminating evidence in the Attorney General's Office by destroying papers before the new government took over.

    14. Anbary Abdul Sattar - For personally overseeing torture and ordering torture of prisoners in jails (especially political prisoners).

    15. Jangiya Nazim (Big time corruption and blackmail of political opponents)

    16. Fathin Hameed - corruption

    17. MP Nihan - active involvement with thugs to attack political opponents.

    18. MP Mahloof - active involvement with thugs to attack political opponents.

    19. MP Ilham - active involvement with thugs to attack political opponents.

    20. Umar naseer - treason and for seeking the violent overthrow of the Government.

    Supporters of the 80 year old Maumoon will naturally ask 'where is the evidence?'. My answer would be we will provide the evidence in the Special Court.

    The die hard followers of Maumoon are those who have benefited from his Regime through corruption and are trying to come back in the hope of reviving their economic fortunes. We will settle this problem once and for all this time.

  17. Qayyom, there is a way you can stop from Anni getting you. Join his MDP. You will be portrayed then as some one who served best for the people of Maldives for over 30 years and not as a torturer...:)


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