The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced its intention to conduct a nationwide protest on Friday following the decision to place former President Mohamed Nasheed under island arrest.
The Department of Judicial Administration yesterday told local media that the travel ban was “standard procedure” followed by all courts.
Nasheed has also been charged with two cases of defamation, for calling the Defence Minister and Police Commissioner traitors. He has been summoned to the Civil Court on September 30 in relation to the defamation charges.
The party has refrained from larger demonstrations since the release of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) at the end of last month.
In their observations, the CNI’s international observers were critical of the MDP’s tendency to demonstrate on the streets, describing it as “bully-boy tactics involving actual and threatened intimidation by a violent mob.”
Following apparent absolution by the CNI, the Maldives Police Service announced that it would arrest anybody found using the word ‘baaghee’ towards police.
Nasheed will also appear in Criminal Court on Monday, October 1, in relation to the detention of Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed which preceded his ousting in February.
Should he be convicted of the latter offense, Nasheed would be constitutionally barred from standing in next year’s scheduled presidential elections.
The MDP – still the nation’s largest party by membership – has previously declared that it would boycott such elections should Nasheed be blocked from participating.
Tomorrow’s protest will coincide with a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in New York, where the issue of removing the Maldives from the group’s investigative agenda will be discussed.
President Waheed’s government has insisted that the CNI’s verdict of ‘no-coup’ regarding the February transfer of power means the Maldives should be removed from the agenda, while the MDP have pointed out that institutional deficiencies exposed in the report demonstrate that the Maldives case still falls firmly within CMAG’s remit.
Whilst in New York, Waheed spoke before the United National General Assembly (UNGA) where he aimed a thinly veiled attack at the Commonwealth’s understanding of the rule of law during its recent dealings with the Maldives.
The restriction on Nasheed’s movements came days after the party released a document titled ‘Impunity Watch Maldives’.
The document, stated to be the first of a monthly summary of human rights violations, follows two damning reports earlier this month by both the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Amnesty International.
Amongst the figures included in the ‘Impunity Watch’, the report stated that the number of MDP MPs having faced prosecution or questioning by the government was now seven, a figure which party spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor stated was a third of the party’s representation in the Majlis.
This number jumps to twenty nine if party officials are included such as Nasheed himself, and the party’s chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, who is facing charges of disrespecting the judiciary.
It lists the number of instances of police brutality against protesters since February 7 as 130 and the numbers detained by police in relation to opposition protests as 851.
The MDP criticised what it sees as the failure of the government or of United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Andrew Cox to condemn these human rights violations.
Meanwhile, the document gives the number of police officers arrested in relation to human rights violations as zero, as well as highlighting the case of one officer who was promoted twice after the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) recommended he be prosecuted.
PIC Chair Shahinda Ismail has named the officer in question as Ali Ahmed, stating that his promotions came after the commission had recommended his removal to the Home Minister.
“It is really upsetting – a huge concern – for me that the police leadership is showing a trend where unlawful officers are acting with impunity. This can only lead to further violence,” said Shahinda.
In the first of three PIC reports into the events surrounding the transfer of power, nine separate incidents were highlighted, with the commission unanimously pledging to pursue further legal action in five of the cases.