Former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned “under duress” in a “coup d’état” on February 7, a report by Danish legal experts has concluded.
The report, titled “Arrested Democracy,” was compiled at the request of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and authored by an independent team of international lawyers and human rights experts headed by Associate Professor of International Law at Copenhagen University, Anders Henriksen.
It analyses the legality of Nasheed’s resignation under international law and the subsequent actions taken by the security forces against anti-government protesters, and is based on testimonies collected during a field visit in June 2012, as well as news articles, written materials and video footage.
Whilst the report concluded Nasheed was ousted in a coup d’état, the authors could not determine “with absolute certainty” whether the coup was pre-planned. However, the report finds “the factual circumstances surrounding the resignation of President Nasheed extremely damaging to the credibility of the new government and its claim that it did not instigate the transfer of power in the Maldives.”
The report further states that new President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s refusal to hold new elections “violate the right of the Maldivian people to democratic governance as manifested in Article 25 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the right to self-determination.”
It also condemned and detailed a number of human rights violations committed by the Maldivian security forces, observing that “since the transfer of power the Maldivian security forces seem to have acted more like a militia for the new government than as a neutral police service for all Maldivians.”
Security forces have violated rights to freedom of association, speech, and assembly and right to personal security “by resorting to excessive use of force; discriminating against protesters based on their viewpoints; restricting demonstrations without a legitimate reason and for failing to distinguish between those protesters that cause trouble and those that are peaceful,” the report said.
Noting that no security official has been held accountable for human rights abuses since the controversial transfer of power, the authors stated that the Maldives government must take the “overall responsibility for the human rights violations in the Maldives over the course of the last six months.”
Recommending fresh elections to resolve the current political crisis in the Maldives, the authors state: “The new government must call for new elections and it must do so rather sooner than later. The longer it waits, the longer it prevents the Maldivian people from determining their own future.”
Members of the MDP have released two reports concerning the transfer of power on February 7. A report produced by former Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam and former National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal in June outlined what the MDP government knew of the then-opposition’s plan to topple the government by soliciting “about 500 police officers” to mutiny against Nasheed’s administration. A few days later, MDP lawyer and MP Mariya Ahmed Didi released a report outlining criminal charges against President Dr Waheed, arguing he had played “a pivotal role” in the “unlawful overthrow” of Nasheed’s administration and in doing so had violated Article 30 of the Penal Code.
Nasheed had no choice but to accept a demand for his resignation on February 7 following “the revolt by the Maldivian Police Services and the seemingly unwillingness or inability of the Maldivian Military to restore law and order,” the report states.
“We conclude that President Nasheed resigned as President of the Maldives under duress, and that his resignation cannot be considered voluntary or otherwise ‘in accordance with law,’” the report observes, and goes on to state; “To the extent that a ‘coup d’etat’ can be defined as the ‘illegitimate overthrow of a government’, we must therefore also consider the events as a coup d’etat.”
Although the authors could not conclusively determine whether the coup was pre-planned, they argue that “it should not be for the opposition to prove that the new government under the presidency of Dr. Waheed orchestrated the forced resignation by President Nasheed, but rather for Dr. Waheed and his new government to prove that they did not.”
The report calls for early elections, stating that elected politicians must consult their constituents in time of extraordinary crisis.
“When the elected politicians have a valid disagreement on the political legitimacy of the democratic process and when that disagreement threatens to jeopardize the entire constitutional system, it should be for the people – and not simply the ruling politicians themselves – to decide on the direction society should take,” the report states.
“More like militia”
The report details human rights violations committed by the security forces since the transfer of power and said the security forces acted “more like a militia for the new government than as a neutral police service for all Maldivians.”
Maldivian security forces have violated the rights to freedom of speech, association, assembly and the right to personal security by resorting to excessive force, the report states. It further argues that such violations have made protesters reluctant to exercise their legitimate rights.
“We find, in other words, that the acts of the security forces have had a ‘chilling effect’ on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in the Maldives.
“The reported conduct of the security forces does not correspond with their obligation to allow protests to take place unless compelling information offers a legitimate reason for restriction. Indeed, when judged by the information available, it seems as if the security forces have been more focused on repressing demonstrations rather than ensuring the safety of the participating individuals,” the report notes.
Security forces have used “excessive and indiscriminate use” of batons and sticks, pepper spray and tear gas, and if such instruments have been used for no apparent reason, then “the security forces may very well have violated the prohibition against inhuman and degrading treatment under the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture,” the authors said.
The report claims the security forces’ targeting of anti-government protesters “appear to be systematic and not just the result of sporadic acts of ill disciplined officers.”
“Some responsibility for the worsening human rights record among the security forces must rest with the leadership of these forces who have clearly failed to make sure that their personnel have discharge their duties in compliance with applicable democratic and human rights standards. The security forces do not appear to operate under a coherent and well-principled policy for the use of force policy and there also seems to be lack of comprehensive protocol governing the treatment of protesters and the handling of public demonstrations.
“Overall responsibility for the numerous human rights violations in the Maldives over the course of the last six months must however, rest with the new Maldivian government who are ultimately responsible for the acts perpetrated by its security agencies. The government appears to have taken no concrete actions in order to stop the violence against the anti-government protesters nor has it distanced it from it.
“In a controversial move, the government has actually just recently allowed for the introduction of new types of non-lethal weapons, including the use of electroshock taser-guns and mace spray, for use by the Maldivian security forces,” the report observes.
The authors also criticize the Maldivian Human Rights Commission (HRCM), claiming that although the commission is “competent to look into complaints of human rights violations, in the Maldives, we are not entirely persuaded by their willingness and ability to condct sufficiently thorough investigations of the events that have occurred in the Maldives since the transfer of power.”
The authors recommend “fundamental democratic reform” of the Maldivian security forces, claiming that the two institutions were not immune from manipulation and exploitation by influential political actors. “Both institutions clearly suffer from a lack of basic understading of their proper role in a democracy,” the report stated.
In addition to Henrikson, Attorney-at law, LL.M., Rasmus Kieffer-Kristensen, and Asia-expert & Senior Policy Fellow Jonas Parello Plesner participated in authoring the report.
28 thoughts on “Nasheed resigned “under duress”, security forces “more like militia”: Danish legal experts”
Nasheed’s resignation was forced by the very people who had oath to protect the people of Maldives. When that was violated, Nasheed’s life was threatened and he has resigned, this case is crystal clear, we don’t need any expert opinion to decide what daylight and darkness is. But for those who are blindfold and cannot see the difference between light and dark, the so called expert opinion has no credit for them. The Junta police have no idea what a democracy is and they believe this institution functions on their individual mind set rather than on a uniformed code of conduct. They are immune from prosecution for violating human rights and mutinying. They can revenge individual people on the street for personal vendetta and so called self proclaimed Government who breath with the assistance of this junta force is handicapped to do anything against this junta because they got the seat with the help of Junta. Some people think that who voice against this coup d’état are those who favour Nasheed. The question is not whether Nasheed is a right person to be the president, the question is can police and demonstrators on the street topple an elected government. If this is allowed, what the future holds for this banana republic. The crazy average Maldivian does not realize that this precedent will never lead to stabilize political turbulence. The only way forward is election and all people should come on the street to teach a lesson to junta that the time of dictatorship has gone now.
It is clearly a coup... Why do CoNI need until the end of August to figure it out???
No doubt the circumstances forced Nasheed to resign.
If those circumstances constitute an illegal overthrow as our learned panel of experts argues, then one can, through legal acrobatics declare a coup here easily. However it is the job of lawyers working for the MDP to do just that therefore the only value in this report is in its marketability through media channels.
I am sure the Waheed administration could get a team of lawyers to go through hoops to argue the exact opposite.
Yet this sort of political activity is something that is more desirable to street activism and hooliganism under the guise of "peaceful" assembly.
It is an undeniable fact that certain sections of the security forces rebelled against Nasheed's leadership on the day that he resigned. This coincidence throws the whole legitimacy of the resignation into question.
However we must not forget the numbers on the streets that day who had no idea that Nasheed would resign on that day. Contrary to the MDP's claims there were average common folk demonstrating against Nasheed on the day in question.
There was also a decision by Nasheed and his regime to cast aside the rules of engagement adopted in 2008 by arresting a judge outside the legal process. There was also Nasheed's earlier arrest of two opposition leaders against whom no charges were proven.
There was also the fact that Parliament failed to convene at a time when Nasheed had breached the Constitution as confirmed by the Supreme Court, PG and HRCM. So the entire apparatus to legally impeach him was paralyzed.
So this 'coup' or rather this failure of our democratic system is symptomatic of problems deeper within the political climate. This system failure cannot be rectified through damning reports on either side or through aggressive posturing and brinkmanship. Talks is the solution and talks is the course to take.
This is what dr Waheed was waiting for. So, officially resign and handover the presidency to Nasheed.
According to one MDP pundit, Maumoon secretly wants it to be be proven as a Coup d’état!! Why?
Thats is clever way to disquality Qasim, Thasmeen, Waheed and others, so that only Maumoon and Anni can run in 2013.
I am betting on this one.
Inshallah, the international community, particularly the US, EU and India will FINALLY acknowledge that Anni did not resign but, rather, was forced out in a coup orchestrated by Waheed. While it does not say on orders from Gayoom, just as everybody knew Putin remained the real power in Russia while Medyedev was the nominal president everybody knows who really is pulling the strings. Those two should be sent to the Hague for trial before the international criminal court for crimes against humanity. No the streets of Male are not filled with bodies like in Syria, but in the 21st century the World cannot simply stand idly by while democratically elected governments are overthrown by tyrants.
THE MDP ALSO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT DEMOCRACY IS THUS FORMER PRESIDENT SEYKU NASHEED HAD TO RESIGN
THINK ABOUT ALL THAT LEAD TO THE RESIGNING OF SEYKU NASHEED (where is the claim that Nasheed was at gun point when he resigned, and that he wrote the letter of resignation at the headquarters.)
the realization of this, being a coup came 24hours later to seyku nasheed so his mental stability is also a question??
why did'nt seyku Nasheed become a courage's leader (as he always claimed to be and which most of us believed earlier)at the time the Maldivian people needed him the most. why did he resign so easily????
the report from Danish legal experts???? (wow, what a report from a team from a country who draws cartoons and mocks the Muslim prophet so many times in the media, what an advantage these legal experts will have to degrade the Islamic religion, and what a coincidence seyku nasheed being a healthy subordinate to them)
there were times when the security forces (only the police and not the MNDF)used excessive force (on 7th,8th february)on the mdp supporters, this should be addressed and dealt with but we should also consider what seyku Nasheed did on the night of 6th february and 7th.
Rather than acting like a peace loving person that he claims to be and being the champion of democracy, he acted like a tyrant on the 6th and 7th asking the police and MNDF to withdraw their forces from a place where violence was evident
asking the MNDF to fire bullets at the police (who are like brothers) when in fact he should have resolved to a more peaceful way (a prominent leader
should at any cost find peaceful ways to resolve such situations thus seyku nasheed failed as a leader)
the presence of Maria (fatharaase) didi and her supporters (with knives and logs) at the jumhoore maidhan worsened the situation and both the parties acted violently without considering peace
the Danish Islam hating team should also consider how the MDP supporters have treated security officials (verbal abuse, physical abuse and brutal attacks on the road INCLUDING MOLESTING OF WOMEN POLICE OFFICERS)and the rest of the population who resides in the Maldives (including the tourists who visit)
'Human rights violation by the security forces'
it's not only the security forces but brutality comes from the MDP as well.
just last night,A YOUNG POLICE OFFICER (WITH A WIFE AND A THREE MONTHS OLD BABY)WAS MURDERED BRUTALLY,in the name of democracy.considering where he lives, MDP does not EVEN know whether he participated in the so called coup or not.
MDP and seyku nasheed should take full responsibility for this death, as he is the one calling for revenge from the police
the report by the Islam hating danish team contradicts with what the MDP has said before and published
the only solution is to have a fair and legitimate election but considering in the event of MDP failing, what will happen then?????
eventually people will realize that nasheed is not a champion of democracy, as his and his parties actions are like a brutal cult now in the Maldives
we should have talked before MPs and businessmen joined the mutinying police and armed forced.. we cannot talk not that the damage had been done and the police are brutalizing civilians... we can resistant President Nasheed and expect talks or we can call elections and talk.. but to leave things as they we are further descending into lawlessness.. and every day added is an extra day of the illegal regime brought about by the coup..
please open your eyes and have a good look at the video when MDP supporters approached Republic Square on 7th February 2012. It will clearly show that they had no armour of any form. Rather, some "fake policemen" in uniforms distributed by coup leaders commanded that the green zone be opened to MDP members just to beat them!! When you see the videos, you will notice that the police force (fake and real including civilians in hot pink t-shirts) charged the MDP crowd and beat them using batons, smashed people's heads and broke bones and pepper sprayed them!
Your comment on military playing a rebellious role on 7th
Aren't you concerned the military has continued to play that role in a more intensified manner since then. Those brutal beatings on the 8th violates not only constitution but overcasts actions of all those who have advocated for democracy including yourself.
This government needs to control the military and it needs a stronger leader. President Waheed has not explained to his people close to what you have in your comment on this website, but rather people such as yourself, jameel, Dhunya, Ali Riyaz, maumoon, yamin and others are doing the talking on his behalf.
The public also deserve to be treated more intelligently in order to buy your story. If you had done so, I don't think there would be that much sympathy for Anni, but today those who don't support MDP have also bought their story and project hatred towards yours.
Your pr campaign is severely flawed and being undermined by your own mistakes.
naseedhu is a very good man. naseed brings democrasei to contry. he bring freedoms to peeoples of world. he is our beloved president. we will not participate 2013 erection if he is no eligable. we will die if presin$dent naseed is nop
Nothing will be accepted by the failed Baghee Anni except the Presidential position.
These MDP thugs will never be able to digest anything against them . 7th Feb. incident had happened because Anni had failed to keep the democrat alive in this country and his continuous breach of our constitution.
No matter what MDP are saying , majority of Maldivian will remember Anni as a traitor and not as honorable man.
I agree that Anni resigned because of the pressure from the people and people put the pressure on him since he tried to rule this country as dictator not as a president.
He tried to bring judiciary under his arms and threaten the the public openly talking about what evil he would do to those who are not inline with him.
He himself tried to bring a coup on 6th Feb. which he failed and 6th Feb could have been the beginning of our darkest day in our history if Anni could had succeeded in his plot.
There are enough evidence to prove what Anni was trying to do on 6th by his order tho remove the police at the artificial beach and then implanted his thugs to create a " war" between opposition members and MDP thugs. If our police had not returned after knowing the cowered Anni game, there could have been many bold shed on the 6th night which could have buried our democracy for ever.
CNI is thoroughly investigating the incidence and they will not be just doing the a report for the sake of doing a report like " Jabbaru Anni Coronies report" .
Anni is blood sucking and money hunger and corrupted person . He has completely spoiled our names and values in the international community for his own benefit and to become " famous" himself.
Anni is the one who promotes violence in this country and he is not promoting democracy. If he was promoting democracy , he would have been able to cling on the power for at least 10 years. Regrettably he was a dictator.
The report's outcome does not matter. the mutiny and revolt were perpetrated before the eyes of the people live on TV channels. Nowhere in the world would change of power take place in this fashion. that was nipping democracy in the bud. Killing it before it matures as a developed system of rule of law would steer this country clear of the fear mongers and mischief makers for good.
Any way, depending on the outcome, mutinies and revolts under the guise of unlawful orders can be a common place.
the coup was the acid test of whether or not Gayoom built a professional defence force and police unit. Result was utter failure in the test with a clear outcome that it was simply a militia and mafia respectively at his will and the uniform was only a facade.
The Maldives is one of the few countries that are held to ransom by the regime loyalists addicted to control and misuse. The people's prayers and the earliest elections would cleanse the security forces of this mirth and disgrace. Due to actions of few the Maldives have come to standstill while the development was at full throttle much beyond the standards of this region. The benefits of people's government would to go the very opponents of it as well. this has tried and tested and no room for distortion and manipulation to change public opinion. Truth prevails and truth will prevail this time round too.
Patriots and sincere professionals of this country must not surrender their conscience to the influence and intimidation of a few powerful big shots- some commissions, judiciary and parliament etc.
" Nasheed resigned “under duress”, security forces “more like militia”: Danish legal experts "
This is not at all necessary!
We all saw what happened!
We all saw who did what!
When and how it all happened!
Security forces more like a malitia!
If it is not, what is malitia?
Getting worse. Maldives, getting worse.
Nothing I can do, wish I could.
I jumped on minivan believing, so naively, I could contribute something positive.
Once you get involved, you get hurt, my ego, spurred on by hurt and anger, took over from my good intentions, and I could not even see it. Sprouting all this crap and anger and still believing I had good intentions.
The heart is deceitful!
How the hell can I hope for Anni or anyone else to hold onto their good intentions in a position of power, when I can't even do it just a guy on a computer a million miles removed?
I am going to give up commenting on minivan for two reasons
A.) It is meant to be a forum for Maldivian grassroots expression of minivan (freedom)
B.) I am only doing damage by being on here too everybody.
Sorry I could not do something good.
I will continue to read it and wish well for Maldives in my heart and prayers, but won't comment,
salaams all best for minivan and Maldives
Nasheed resigned under a major hangover! the 4 foot hairy monkey couldnt serve a small nation.
Ben: dont give up the good fight now man! Anni has asked for help from the international community because he cannot regain his office without outside help as Gayoom's goons control the levers of power. Dont be silenced! If the supporters of democracy remain silent the dictatorship will win!
yeah, really, and you did not see the MDP thugs attacking the police and MNDF officers near MNBC1
and you did not see how seyku Nasheed verbally abused the MNDF soldiers inside the headquarters on 7th february,
Gosh, talk about being the commander in chief
what a way to treat your own force!!!!
because Rajje bodudhogu tv only shows instances of police attacking MDP supporters on 8th february all the time
show a little humanity, and don't be head over heels over a party
give me a break! will ya.
Its a coup, Doctor Hassan admits it in his audio too. Why cant Maldivians believe it as a coup??
@International Observer, don't know who you are but love the hell out of you brother...
well, I will fight, but i'll try not to get too carried away in the future with zillions of words! thats alll, because it is not victory for Maldivian ppl if it is a foreigner fighting!!
@Ben I thought you quit commenting :S I was already feeling better yesterday and now this white kid is back here again :S
how can someone miles away contribute or fight for "democracy" on a laptop while everyday freedom lovers fight on the street and nothing is changing.
@LOL: You stop threatening my family and i'll stop commenting! Not so LOL now are we, getting told off by a person called LOL, at least be brave enough to tell me who you are then you may have some authority to tell me what to do!
I don't think I ever threatened anybody's family here. If I ever did I apologize. I thought grown up people were more smarter to ignore something's in there life
And I am not me alone. We are . . . something that most people will hate and would like to kill. So we prefer to be anonymous.
@ LOL, so, it does not feel good to be branded as a killer because of the actions of your fellow country men, now, does it? SO don't do it to me then, got that! Yes, my family, innocent children, my Beloved Wife had been threatened, recently, and about, six years ago or seven years ago by one GANG STAR Maldivian! THAt hurts because they have to return Maldives, they are Maldivian! So, stop judging me, for what white ppl have done, and I will stop blaming you for what other Maldivians have done. Do you get the POINT! I will resist till my last drop of blood ANY body who threatens my family! IT IS MY RIGHT to FIGHT for my own family, and IF YOU MALDIVIANS don't like a Westerner interering in your affairs, stop bullying around your own ppl! Gone are the days that you can get away with bullying around your own ppl and get away with it. because, so many Maldivians are connected to rest of the world now, don't you get it! If you hurt a Maldivian, you hurt non-Maldivians, don't you get it, you ppl destroyed your own chance at being truly sovereign through the vicious manner you have treated each other, so jam your sovereignty UNLESS you contain your HATE!
Get on with your childish thoughts please! I have nothing to do with "some" Maldivians have done. I myself do not have a Maldivian citizenship for your Kind information brother. I don't mind you fighting for your rights or anything. Not forcing nor am telling you how and what you should be doing with your life and freedom.
This will be my last reply to you.
@LOL: Thanks for that, good, don't reply to me, best you DO stay right the hell out of my face seems you only have racist crap to offer, huh?
if the Danish Experts team spend, a little bit more time, going through all the footage's, they will also find the Coup in the Maldives is also pre-planed. I would suggest to start with the Umar Naseer's comments and interviews - He had people procured and planned to attack the National Defense Head Quarter, He said on one interview there are people ready to climb over the walls of NDHG on his instruction. He is also convinced that the senior officer in the army will avoid attacking any such attackers.
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