HRCM investigating three cases of alleged torture in Male’ custodial

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has confirmed it is investigating three recent cases of detainees being tortured by Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) officers while in the Male’ jail.

The HRCM issued a recent press release stating they were “investigating complaints of brutality” towards detainees at the Custodial Reception and Diagnostic Centre (Male’ Jail).

Officials from the HRCM visited Male’ Jail June 2, 2013 after the family of a detainee informed the HRCM on May 31, 2013 that the victim had been beaten by DPRS officers.

“From the investigations that ensued, [the HRCM] found proof that there were two more detainees who sustained injuries while in custody,” read the statement.

“The HRCM is currently investigating the cases, therefore I’m sorry I cannot be more specific, but I cannot comment at the moment,” HRCM Vice President Ahmed Tholal told Minivan News today (July 13).

“The HRCM always considers allegations of human rights violations quite serious issues and is quick to react, [which is] crucial when human rights violations occur, because otherwise there is no point,” explained Tholal.

“In cases involving torture, fresh evidence is needed, additionally the torture could be ongoing and taking immediate action is needed to protect the victim,” he continued.

“There must be some sort of comfort and support to people when things fail,” he added.

In situations where there is the prospect that a large number of people have suffered human rights violations, it is part of the HRCM’s public relations strategy to announce that investigations are occurring, Tholal noted.

“This is both to demonstrate to the public that the commission is acting proactively, as well as to encourage other victims to submit their complaints to the HRCM,” said Tholal.

Tholal explained the basic assumption from which the HRCM functions is that ‘things are going ok’, but if the state fails to protect human rights – in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, health, migrant workers, for people with disabilities – even if the violations are not directly perpetrated by the Maldives’ government, the HRCM will still investigate.

“The HRCM is always accessible, if any sort of human rights violation occurs we urge people to report it,” he added.

Systemic and systematic torture

“It is very, very good, I’m pleased the HRCM has made the decision to go public with their investigations. HRCM needs support from us,” the Maldivian Democracy Network’s Executive Director Humaida ‘Humey’ Abdulghafoor told Minivan News today.

“It is quite worrying that we keep hearing about accounts of torture in custody,” said Humaida. “These recent accounts [the HRCM announced they are investigating] are an indication of the consistence and continuing abuse in custody.”

“There is systemic and systematic abuse of detainees [in the Maldives], therefore the practice of torture is unlikely to just disappear over a short period of time,” she emphasised.

Humaida highlighted the need to address the “complete lack of professional standards” within the DPRS and Maldives Police Service (MPS).

“What is the system of accountability within the MPS? Where are the professional standards and oversight?” she questioned.

“It is an indicator of the total unprofessional behavior by the MPS that there are ongoing allegations of torture. It is most despicable, no agent of the state should be involved in abusing its citizens,” she declared.

Minivan News spoke with a Maldives Police Service Media Official, Sergeant Hussain Siraz, however he was not aware of the current HRCM investigation and was unable provide an official comment to Minivan News.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at time of press.

Correction: The previous version of this article said Maldives Police Service officers were accused of torturing detainees, however this should have referred to Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services officers. Minivan News regrets the error.


13 thoughts on “HRCM investigating three cases of alleged torture in Male’ custodial”

  1. HRCM is a joke of an institution. HRCM should be at the forefront of promoting human rights in the Maldives, but it isn't.

    Even this "investigation" will amount to nothing. They will make "recommendations" to the government on what steps they should take on this case. Then the government will ignore these recommendations, and HRCM will just sit back and cash their monthly checks. This has happened before, and it will happen again. Just wait and see.

    HRCM does not do ANYTHING

  2. But how the the Maldivian police get their fake confessions if they do not torture?

    religious ?

  3. @falooooda.
    organizations like HCRM can "do" a lot with the help of citizen's responsibility and partecipation.
    the attitude and concept of the citizens towards the organizations and the institutions should also start to change, slowly.

    no one can "seat outside" and pretend situations will change just with a finger snap.
    If you are so sure they do nothing, and you have an idea of what and where they should change why you don't contact them and offer your partecipation, your skills, your feedback?
    a great contribution to "change" the society starts from the large base, the citizens.
    any active engagement, bring to improve the status quo.

    as soon you will be more close into any organization, you will see how complex are the procedures to obtain a visible positive result when you have to cope with legislative bodies and stakeholders.

    disillusioned negative statements ending with a useless standard "they do nothing" will not provide any positive change, but it raise a legitimate question: and what do you do to bring a change?

    cooperation, information, are the words.

  4. HRMC is a joke of an institution. I couldn't but agree with falooooda. That's well said. Their vision is so narrow, that they act as if their only role is to protect criminals and those who operate outside the parameters of the law.

  5. In my opinion, it is hard to eradicate torture in the Maldives because, torture is the product of the institutionally and culturally supported large scale prevailence of sadism in the Maldives. Sadism - deriving pleasure by inflicting pain on others, is hard to overcome, because, these guys feel SICK without your pain, and they will do anything for the ecstasy derived from the agony of your affliction. They have become ultr-cunning and clever at evading your attempts to escape from their tyranny. So ingenious is the physical, emotional and psychological system of slavery they have devised to make sure they stay HARD or HOT at the expense of your suffering, that, you voluntarily offer your sufering up to FEED their NEED, and, you do it thinking thats what you have to do to liberate yourself from it!

  6. this criminals should be disciplined by any means but must be given the 3 basic necessity.what about the raped victims that sentenced for 100 lashes should it be consider lawful act by judges? criminals must not be given special treatment they should be punish in jail.

  7. Is Tholal is only the person in HRCM ? HRCM is not an independent body and it is more of political body .

    HRCM only duty is to protect and serve criminals.

  8. Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) officers in fact are the POLICE, in a different set of uniform!

    It will not be surprising if the "SO" section of the Police are not overlooking this department because all these comes under the one huge umbrella; Ministry of Home Affairs!

    We have witnessed brutal killing within the walls of jails.
    We have witnessed the the parliament and the executive promise that no brute force will be used against inmates or suspects!

    But we see these being carried out in disguise!

    I am afraid if the people are to put a stop to this, it may come down to a tit for tat job!

  9. @ Patriot.
    exactly for the reasons and the atrocious facts you have mentioned, it doesn't help very much to release a row of laconic "they-do-nothing" comments adressed to HRCM.
    instead, the entire Maldivian community should back those organizations to reach the necessary consense to dismantle the organized aggressions from the state.
    to bring the state to understand that police isn't in place to torture, police has NO RIGHT to inflict corporal punitions. NEVER. NO ONE have those rights!

  10. You may have a point. But did it help to bring about any positive change? No. Comments are just that.....mere comments. Looks like I pushed a nerve on you. Do you work for the HRCM?

    My comment may not have changed the world in a "finger snap" but it's still true. A common citizen unaffiliated with the HRCM shouldn't have to teach them how to do their jobs. But when they don't do their jobs, I have the right to say so, even though I shouldn't have to do that either. So, you're welcome.

  11. @ faloooda
    I am very sorry my comment was not made with the intention to offend you ( and I had no doubt on the veridicality of your comment), it was done in the hope to recall the possibility to cooperate with the organizations to give support to their missions, ideas, help to reach the common goal for the justice, respect that every single person deserve, in each and every condition in this world.
    Please forgive me if it comes over as a rude statement. it was because our society is used to a general complaint, but very few of us are ready to get active in the process to transform our collective thought and get a bit more humans.
    and no, I don't work for the HRCM.

  12. So why is minivan trying to get a statement from MPS regarding this article when the case is about DPRS prison officers torturing detainees. People do realise that MPS does not have anything to do with this particular case. I know there are issues to be delt with regarding Police brutality, but why change the focus of the article? simply ignorant to how things work, or is it intentional?


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