Government presses terrorism charges against 21 MDP protesters over February 8 unrest

The Prosecutor General has pressed Terrorism charges against 21 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protesters for damage to state property on February 8, for allegedly setting fire to the court and police station in Addu City.

Nationwide protests erupted on February 8 following the controversial transfer of power the previous day. Former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned amid a police and military mutiny, and later alleged this was under duress.

The protests were sparked after a brutal police crackdown on large numbers of demonstrators who attempted to enter Republic Square that afternoon, including the former President, MDP MPs and supporters.

Dramatic footage of the crackdown was filmed by international media outlets such as Al-Jazeera, while other footage shared on social media showed police kicking and beating protesters on the ground. Many of the injured were women.

A Minivan News reporter who was injured in a baton charge, at the time described the involvement of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s ‘Starforce’ officers: “They were beating old women with batons,” he said. “It was just like the old days.”

The protests spread across the country, with demonstrators targeting police and court buildings. Police officers were in some instances evicted from islands. The worst of the destruction occurred in Addu City, the country’s second most populated area after Male’, and an MDP stronghold.

A police crackdown followed in Addu, and was the subject of a report by international human rights organisation Amnesty International.

In one instance, security personnel “reportedly entered the MDP office in Hitadhoo, where more than a dozen women protesters had run for shelter. They chased the women into the storage room of the building and began to beat them,” Amnesty reported.

“Amnesty International learned that one woman had her arm twisted and sprained when MNDF soldiers grabbed her. They then took her glasses off, forced her to open her eye and sprayed it with pepper spray. She said they pressed her against the wall and kicked her with their boots.

“Another woman said that they began to beat her on her breast, repeatedly shouting they would see to it that she does not breast feed again. A third woman showed her badly bruised arm where she said that soldiers had severely and repeatedly beaten her.”

Amnesty noted that both sides had blamed each other for promoting violence, and that human rights in the Maldives “have become heavily politicised.”

In a statement today, the Criminal Court said the 21 protesters were accused of vandalising the Police Station at Addu, vandalising the Police School, the Addu City Court, and the Prosecutor General’s Office at Addu City on February 8.

The Criminal Court said that they were charged according to Anti-Terrorism Act article 2[f][g] and article 6[b].

On February 8, the [olice station on Milandhoo in Shaviyani Atoll and the station on Velidhoo in Noonu Atoll were reportedly taken over by MDP supporters.

In March, Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed the arrest of 17 people on Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, who were involved in vandalising property and creating unrest in the island on February 8.

‘’Those people are people whom we have pictures and video footage of their involvement in the incidents that day,’’ Shiyam said at the time.

In April, the President of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Shahindha Ismail told the Parliament’s Independent Institutions Oversight Committee that police actions on February 8 were unlawful, and that police officers had used undue force to disperse the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) demonstration.

In May police said they have concluded investigation into arson attacks against government offices and the police station on Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll on February 8, and sent the names of 108 persons to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

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12 thoughts on “Government presses terrorism charges against 21 MDP protesters over February 8 unrest”

  1. Retaliate? By burning down court houses, accomodation blocks, police stations, schools, orphanages, government offices?
    Thanks to these MDP thugs addu has moved 20 years back in development.
    Also it was the independent prosecutor general (whose name was forwarded by nasheed himself to majlis during his regime, and appointed by majlis) who pressed charges against these thugs for what they did. Its not governent. Same old minivan news twist.

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  2. You are right this starting fires is not, was not justifiable, I take it back.

    I was just very hurt by the way Religion had been used as a weapon against the MDP by those who were no Holier themselves. Having experienced that as a Prayerful Believer myself, I know how much that hurts, to be treated as a Kafir when you are not one, and bullied by those you are meant to depend on to be your Loving Brothers and Sisters. It stung me, so please understand, and accept my apology, I am sorry.

    I was introduced to Islam as a Merciful Religion and it seems like sacrilege to turn into a weapon, the Islam of the Fundamentalists is a distortion of what I perceive the essence of Islam to be.

    I was not lashing out against Islam, I love Islam. I was lashing out against what I perceive to be the abuse and distortion of Islam. If that seemed blasphemous, I am sorry, but that is what using Islam as a political weapon seems to me, blasphemous.

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  3. islam in itself is comprehensive. its a way of life. its includes politics. its prescribe everything for the believer from how to drink a glass of water to how to run a government.
    but, see, this post is about some MDP thugs burning down public buildings built on our money and which will again be rebuilt with our money. so, mr. ben, it will be great if u can stick your comments of this topic at hand. we are quite tired of hearing your same story of how you changed your religion or how you interpret religion (which in itself is strange) on every single article on minivan news.
    and mr. ben, by your logic (as in your previous comment) whenever someome get brutually treated if its okey to burn public places then we wont have many buildings standing. you see there is a culture of torture among law enforcement here in maldives (as in many other places). there was torture during the time of sultans, during the presidency of ibrahim nasir, maumoon and also nasheed. if each victim went and burn a place the country will be a giant fireball.

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  4. OK. Muizz I'm not gonna say anything at you for pressing charges against them. May I ask you have you done anything about MP Ahmed Nihan Haasan Manik you kicked the barricade and harassed police when you so conveniently charged Ali Waheed? What is it that they are holding against you to be so scared?

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  5. Everyone get your fire extinguishers ready. If the CoNI report is not in their favour MDP will burn down the rest of the places in this country.

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  6. @hmm
    Both MDP's Ali Waheed and PPM's Mahloof are being charged. Shows that PG is not 'scared'.
    Also it was during nasheed regime that he threatend the independent PG with no confidence motion because muizzu simply voiced against the abduction of top criminal court judge.

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  7. a) the traitors in uniform of mndf and police - who set up and executed the coup d'etat against the first ever elected government : not brought to court

    b) the plain clothes dressed and paid thugs who actively participated in the coup d'etat : not prosecuted

    c) the uniformed militia people who brutalise, beat, sexually abuse, bite always peacefully protesting people : not prosecuted

    d) the attackers of journalists and reporters - attempted murder on Hilath, attacks on reporter Minivan, repeated attacks on RaajjeTV : not to court

    e) the dictator himself, let torture and murder 119 bro's in his jails : no court

    f) the Backbone Breaker - no wonder he executed a coup d'etat _ not in court

    g) the stealing, biting and looting blues : no court

    h) the child abusing judge : no court (as he decided himself)

    ...... not in court yet ... justice will be done, time will come for that too

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  8. @ ibrahim mohamed
    a,f) its not confirmed that it was a coup or not. its been investigated by an internationally backed committee.
    b, c, g) many cases of police/army brutuality and other misconduct are being investigated by HRCM, PIC, etc. some cases are now in court and some officers are on trial.
    d) MDP has attacked VTV studios and brought it off air, they cut the cables of VTV and dhi tv during live broadcast, nasheed ordered his police to enter dhi fm studios in the middle of night and forced it to stop broadcasting... many media violations by mdp also. these also need to investigated. the case of hilath is being investigated along with other similar stabbing cases.
    e) the murder of hundreds of prisoners in gayooms jail was an accusation made by shafeegu gey shafeeg. he could not show a shread of evidence to support his claim. hence he was successfully sued for defamation.
    yes, indeed justice will be served. we want to see it done.

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  9. No, Mr. Aiman, it does NOT WORK like that for your kind information. I, Mr. Ben, do not SHUT UP because ppl tell me they are sick of me, because I believe in the truth of what I am saying, I believe in the relevance of what I am saying though you may not see it, and I am capable of sticking to that, no matter what ANYBODY says!

    It is quite simple, yet obviously not for you, so I will explain it to you. If you can’t take the real truth of these matters, just read over my comments, yes, ignore me.

    Hopefully somebody more thoughtful and understanding will realize what I am getting at and why, and why what I have said is relevant even to THIS, and work towards doing something about it?

    If not, I have fulfilled my duty, and have done my best, if you do not understand the link, the relevance, at least I tried. And you Mr. Aiman, must bring yourself to deal with that whether you like it or NOT!

    Oh, and, I took back my justifications for burning down those buildings, I admitted I was being illogical, and wrong, so you are wrong to say ‘according to my logic ‘ such and such…

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  10. Bravo Aiman, Ainth, & Ibrahim Mohamed,

    Though U guys are too delusional to be reasoned with, here it goes:
    If ur home n family n children were in any form of threat,u will fight for ur right,
    But u deny the others to stand for theirs!!?? and why it's cox u say so!!!
    Ur infent,gogo brains can't ignor the fact that it could be you tomorrow! in the same seat, fighting for ur rights,on the roads like those gang from 23rd coalition, or Umar Naseer's or Yameen's thugs!!! then What?? U think speaking withouth any conscious today will be valued tomorrow!!!
    Fools of the same feather fall together and its not an intimidating reality that "What's taken by force will be taken back but by force"

    Ur thugs destroy a beautiful country to the ruin n u have no shame, Ur uniformed gang broke all human conceived barriers to behave like mad dogs butting n shouting n u defend their actions!!

    scared? or blindfolded? or may be that black magic?

    Sick, educated bunch of pirates without a code!!

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