Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson MP Mariya Ahmed Didi is to be summoned to the police for questioning today regarding confrontations that took place after police entered the MDP protest camp at Usfasgandu on May 29.
Police said Didi was supposed to attend police headquarters on Thursday, however said the time had been changed to 2:30pm today upon Didi’s request.
Initially the police did not reveal the reasons for summoning Didi to police, and the chit sent to Didi read that it was “regarding a matter that the police are investigating.”
Rumours were circulating within the party last night that Didi was being summoned for allegedly for plotting to attack police officers. Didi – the country’s first female lawyer – yesterday also published a report outlining the criminal charges she said President Mohamed Waheed Hassan should face following the events of February 7.
Police later issued a statement denying these claims and stated that Didi was being summoned regarding the confrontations that took place when police entered the ‘Usfasgandu’ camp on May 29.
“The Maldives Police Service has sent a summoning chit to Mariya to investigate the violent confrontations that took place between the police and opposition protesters on May 29, 2012 and May 30, 2012. We suspect that Mariya and some others were behind the attacks, and had hired gangs to attack police officers and police property, and that Mariya had encouraged attacks on police,” read the statement.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at time of press.
“Systematically threatening political opponents”- MDP
MDP Spokesperson Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News that Didi was to be summoned for allegedly plotting an attack on police officers.
Fahmy alleged police were reverting to an old practice under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s time of “systematically threatening political opponents”, in retaliation for Didi’s release of the report outlining a legal case for criminal charges against President Waheed.
“They are trying to harass and threaten Mariya after the report she released which exposed Waheed’s participation in the coup,” he said.
“The government is now trying to systematically threaten political opponents. Mariya’s report was academic and professional context – it was not even political,” Fahmy contended.
Didi, who is an LLM graduate from the Aberystwyth University and the country’s first female lawyer, this week released a report claiming President Mohamed Waheed should face criminal charges for violating Article 30 of the Penal Code, for his alleged participation in unlawfully toppling the government of the Maldives.
She argued in her report that President Waheed played a “pivotal” role in the “unlawful overthrow” of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration on February 7.
Spokesperson of the President’s Office, Abbas Adil Riza at the time told Minivan News that the government welcomed such a “professional” report.
“It is very good that people like Mariya have decided to abandon their ‘street justice’ and get into the boundaries of the country’s legal system,” he said.
“This may not mean that they have entered into the legal boundary but it is a positive thing. I think it is a step taken towards getting inside the law,” he added.
Riza stated that the report was Didi’s own opinion, however he said the government would respect any decision made by the courts.
MDP released a statement condemning the “continued intimidation and harassment by the Maldives Police Services against those who are openly discussing the coup d’etat, orchestrated by factions of the police and military that forced Maldives first democratically elected President to resign on 7 February 2012.”
The party stated that the summoning came only a day after Didi released a report the drew on government’s own “timeline of events” published by the former Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).
Didi’s summons followed the arrest of the Chief of Police Intelligence, Mohamed Hameed, who cooperated with the MDP’s Ameen-Aslam report into the circumstances surrounding the change of power. Several other officers were also subject to investigation. The MDP said the arrests implied “a clear and dangerous pattern of intimidation and harassment of peaceful, non-violent dissent by the sitting government and its security forces.”
Arrest of former police intelligence chief
Police last week arrested former head of police intelligence, Chief Superintendent Mohamed Hameed, following his contribution to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s report into the controversial transfer of power on February 7.
Reports surfaced yesterday that police officers who had cooperated with the report were being rounded up and detained, and their houses searched. A group of protesters had gathered outside police headquarters this morning.
Police initially denied the allegations of a “witch hunt” and issued a statement accusing the media of “circulating baseless and false reports”. However court warrants for the arrest of Hameed and Staff Sergeant Ahmed Naseer were subsequently leaked.
Hameed was taken into custody this morning and transferred to the detention centre on Dhoonidhoo, ahead of a court hearing this afternoon. Naseer and a third, lower-ranking officer are also believed to be in Dhoonidhoo. Later Criminal Court extended Hameed’s detention to five days.
However, Criminal Court yesterday ordered the release of former head of police intelligence Chief Superintendent Mohamed Hameed from custody, just a few hours after the High Court upheld its decision to keep him detained.
The five-day detention warrant granted by the Criminal Court expired on Tuesday at 2:00pm, and Hameed was brought before the court by the police with a request for further extension.
In contrast to its first decision, the court sanctioned Hameed’s release by concluding that it “does not believe the detention should be extended any further.”
Police raid on Usfasgandu
Police raided the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest camp at Usfasgandu on May 29, after obtaining a search warrant from the Criminal Court and cordoning off the area from MDP demonstrators.
Didi was inside the cordon showing the warrant to a group of media representatives shortly after 8:00am, as dozens of police began to gather in the area.
Reasons for the search stated on the warrant included: “suspected criminal activity”, “damage to public property”, and “suspected black magic performed in the area”.
Under evidence, the warrant alleged that people in the Usfasgandu area verbally abused police officers and damaged a police vehicle on April 20, obstructed a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) exercise of May 9, and on May 25 “MDP protesters threw a cursed rooster at MNDF officers.”
Civil Court later that night issued an order to halt the dismantling of the camp after MNDF and police officers began dismantling the camp.
The government later appealed to Civil Court decision to the High Court, but the court ruled in favor of the order.