Male’ City Council (MCC) has called for the release of Councillor Mohamed Falah, who is currently being held in police custody in Dhoonidhoo detention centre.
In a statement, the MCC alleged that Falah’s arrest was unlawful and politically motivated.
Falah was arrested along with 14 other senior members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on charges of obstructing police duty, objection to order and breaching police green zones on Friday (February 1).
In a statement issued at the time, police condemned the protest by MDP activists.
Police said that 15 persons were arrested near the party’s protest site at Usfasgandu after they allegedly attempted to breach its barricades. Police fenced off the site after the high court ordered it be repossessed pending a dispute over ownership between the council and government.
However, a protester who was present at the time disputed police allegations that demonstrators broke through police lines.
“We were just standing behind the barricades when they came in, we didn’t even move or run. We just stayed there, we didn’t even call them ‘baaghee’ (traitor) but we kept on telling them they should give a proper reason for arresting a person, they just can’t take people for no reason,” the protester told Minivan News.
Demonstrators kept questioning the police as to why they were making the arrests when none of them had crossed the police line.
“We kept on asking what the [the arrested protesters] had done. After taking in a few protesters, they came towards us and took [Youth Wing Leader] Shauna. They came towards her and said she had to come with them whether she liked it or not. Two to three of us were holding her when they took her,” the protester added.
The detained activists were presented to the Criminal Court on Saturday (February 2). The court extended their detention by a further five days.
The MDP meanwhile alleged that the court did not even consider remarks made by the detainees’ defence lawyers during the hearing.
The Civil Court has previously ruled that the Usfasgandu land plot was under the jurisdiction of Housing Ministry and ordered the MCC to hand it over to the ministry.
The council refused and appealed the ruling at the High Court.
The MCC later appealed the High Court warrant to keep the area under police supervision until the court concluded the case.
Minivan News understands the Supreme Court has not yet informed the council if the case has been accepted.