Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has told local media that former President Mohamed Nasheed was the only individual the government would charge following the findings of the Commission of National Inquiry’s (CNI)’s report.
Addressing the February 8 police crackdown on demonstrators, Jameel claimed that the government had not yet been able to organise or appoint a full cabinet on the day. He added that the police themselves were responsible for their acts at that time and any potential charges they may face over the report’s conclusions.
Dr Jameel said that the Police Integrity Commission (PIC), according to its mandate, will look into issues concerning police conduct.
The fourth key finding of the CNI report called for an investigation of acts of police brutality of February 6, 7 and 8, although this was not revealed by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan during the report’s release on Thursday.
Spokesman for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Hamid Abdul Ghafoor today responded to Jameel’s comments, saying: “The people who committed these crimes are responsible for implementing the CNI. The CNI has given room for politicians to free themselves.”
Ghafoor said that the report “articulated urgency” with regards to generating confidence in the nation’s key institutions.
He also reiterated the MDP’s call for the immediate implementation of legal proceedings against those implicated in wrong doing.
During a press conference yesterday, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim stated that he wanted to further highlight Nasheed’s “lies”. He added that contrary to Nasheed’s claims the day before, the CNI report made no mention of any illegal actions or involvement in an alleged “coup d’etat” by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
Former President Nasheed recently suggested that a core of 300 police and military officers were “undermining the public interest of the entire country”.
Ghaoor said today that as long as these people remained in their positions, “the country will be run by a military dictatorship”, before appealing to CMAG to review the findings of the report.
“I do not believe they will leave the country at the mercy of armed forces,” said Ghafoor following the Commonwealth’s encouragement of all sides to respect the report’s findings.
Jameel yesterday indicated his belief that the CNI report relieved the current government of any further obligations to negotiate with Nasheed, regardless of any external pressure.
“No international power can coerce this government into discussions with Nasheed again. This chapter closes here,” Dr Jameel said.
Both Jameel and Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor went on to advise the country’s youth against backing Nasheed, calling him a “habitual liar”.
“Do you realise what sort of a man you are following? He is a habitual liar, do you understand? And what exactly do you achieve by staying behind him? You just have to keep facing police and military action, be answerable to PG and courts, and end up in jail, leaving your young wives and children behind. Is this the future you want?” Dr Jameel said.
Statements from the United States, India, the United Nations and the Commonwealth all urged continuing dialogue amongst political actors.
Nazim said that, just as he had stated prior to the release of the report, the government would not be taking any action against any MNDF officers with regard to the CNI report.
Nazim did confirm that he would be taking legal action against all persons who referred to any MNDF soldier or to himself as ‘baaghee’ (a Dhivehi word meaning: a traitor who had brought about or participated in a coup).
The executive summary of the CNI report stated that urgent reforms were needed to the “basic institutions of democratic governance” and that justice “needs to be seen to be done in order to reassure the public and inspire their confidence.”
Nazim instead focused on the report’s ruling that there had been no coup in the Maldives, and hence no one had a right to label as traitors either the soldiers or any member of the executive, including himself, who, despite having been relieved of his duties officially, had acted as a commander of the MNDF Forces on February 7 in a personal capacity.
“Because I was there in a personal capacity, President Nasheed has often named me as a man who has administered a coup. But I would like to point out that my name does not come up in the CNI report at all,” Nazim claimed.
Nazim is identified in the CNI report as one of three “critical participants” on February 7 as one of three people who – along with current Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz – “had been watching what was going on at Republican Square and felt it was their moral obligation and public duty to intervene.”
Regarding a statement by the international advisers in the CNI defending the commission’s professionalism and integrity, Attorney General Shukoor said that the international community may have taken Nasheed’s nominee Ahmed Saeed (Gahaa)’s claims more seriously had he submitted a dissenting opinion instead of handing in his resignation.
The attorney general alleged that Saeed was unable to do this as he did not have enough evidence to back his claims. She said that if anyone wished to contest the findings of CNI, they were advised to file the case in court.
Ghafoor today lamented what he saw as the failings of the CNI: “It does not seem as if [the MDP’s] troubles are over. Doesn’t look as if trouble for the country as a whole is over.”