Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has asked the Maldives Police Services to investigate threats of violence made via Twitter against former President Mohamed Nasheed and MDP members.
The party issued a statement today claiming an individual called Ali Ahsan (@dhiislamAhsan) had threatened to attack Nasheed and MDP members via a Tweet on June 17.
“The MDP calls on the Maldives Police Services and relevant authorities to conduct a thorough criminal investigation and take immediate action,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the police have said they are investigating an alleged attempt to murder Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim.
Speaking at a Majlis committee on Sunday, Gasim said the Maldivian National Defense Forces (MNDF) had failed to provide security despite death threats against him.
Threats of violence have become a norm in Maldivian cyberspace. Politicians, journalists, bloggers and social media users have reported being threatened for a range of reasons, from their support of a particular political party to advocacy of freedom of religion.
The police told Minivan News cyber crimes are difficult to investigate due to challenges in tracing those who issue threats, and have called for a law on cyber crimes to facilitate investigations.
Victims of attempted murder, including blogger Hilath Rasheed and Raajje TV journalist Asward Ibrahim Waheed, have urged the public to take cyber threats seriously.
Minivan News has learned threats of violence were issued online before a series of abductions in early June. The abductions were carried out as part of an effort to identify cyber activists professing atheism and advocating secularism in the Maldives.
“With the recent kidnappings of some Maldivians by an Islamist vigilant mob of about 40, on the pretext their victims are ‘laadheenee’ or ‘impious’, I will advise everyone to really be careful about any kinds of threats because now I believe they can turn real all too easily,” Hilath told Minivan News.
The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has also called on victims to report threats made via Facebook, Twitter, or comments on blog posts to the police.
Referring to the abductions, HRCM Vice President Ahmed Tholal said, “In light of recent events, at a time of high levels of intolerance, and increase in gang related violence, do not treat any form of cyber threat as an idle threat.”