Human bones discovered in the site of the former Gaamaadhoo prison on September 19, 2009 matches the age and estimated period of death of Abdulla Anees, Vaavu Keyodhoo Bashigasdhosuge, an inmate officially declared missing in the 1980s, President Mohamed Nasheed revealed this morning.
Speaking at a ceremony to unveil the first volume of elderly historian Ahmed Shafeeq’s short stories at Nasandhuraa Palace Hotel, Nasheed said he was intimately familiar with Gaamadhoo prison and had wondered if the bones could belong to Anees (“Aihbalhey”) when he first heard of the discovery.
“The investigation team said the cemetery at Himmafushi was dug up and its soil was taken to the Gaamaadhoo area and these bones must have been brought from there,” he said, dismissing speculation that the bones could have been transferred from Himmafushi, the inhabited side of the island.
“I was watching with my own eyes when sand was brought from Himmafushi. I would know that it was not from that soil.”
President Nasheed spent three years in Gaamaadhoo prison for dissident journalism in opposition to the rule of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
In September 2009, the President’s Office asked police to investigate the discovery and samples of the 14 bone fragments were sent to Thailand for DNA analysis.
Nasheed revealed today that forensic examination has identified the age of the deceased, while a former prison guard, Mohamed Naeem, of Gaaf Dhaal Hoadhendhoo Muraka, has told the police investigation that Anees died in Gaamaadhoo prison.
Police have now gathered enough evidence to send the case for prosecution, he said, pledging the cases of 111 people reported as missing by Shafeeq would be investigated.
Keyodhoo Councillor Gasim Ahmed told Minivan News today that a 90-year-old man was the only remaining relative of Anees in Keyodhoo.
“I knew Anees very well,” he said. “He was playing with us when he broke his hand and that’s how he was called ‘Aihbalhey’.”
Gasim said that Anees’ father was still alive but had moved to another island.
Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said today that the investigation was still underway and details would be disclosed at a later stage.
Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News at the time that the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party had voiced concern over the disappearance of inmates.
“There were allegations that some were killed in jail and buried,” said Zuhair. “There were also allegations that some people were dropped in pits where they made lime for construction.”