PIC concludes investigation into “brutal and inhuman conduct” by police during power transfer

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has declared it has concluded its investigation into all cases of police misconduct during the controversial transfer of power that took place on February 6-8, 2012.

On February 7 an anti-government protest led by then-opposition political parties and religious scholars,   led to a mutiny by a segment of both police and military officers against Nasheed, resulting in his premature resignation from office.

The following day, Nasheed along with the MDP and thousands of people, took to the streets in protest claiming that Nasheed was ousted in a bloodless coup d’état.

However the en masse demonstration met a brutal crackdown from both police and military officers during which MDP MPs and members of the public sustained injuries.

During a parliamentary inquiry by the Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee (EOC), the PIC claimed that actions by police during the mutiny which led to the change in government were  unlawful and amounted to crimes worthy of prosecution by the state.

PIC Vice President Haala Hameed said during the session that the PIC had identified 29 cases of police misconduct, out of which cases concerning six police officers had been sent to the prosecutor general (PG) for prosecution.

The PIC at the time claimed it had urged then-Home Minister Mohamed Jameel to suspend the officers immediately, however the request was not adhered to, and instead at least one of the accused was promoted.

Hameed said the commission had failed to identify the police officers in five of the remaining cases while 11 other cases lacked supporting evidence. She also said the PIC was still investigating seven cases of police misconduct during the transfer of power.

“These are not disciplinary issues, but crimes. Aside from sending cases to the Prosecutor General, we also recommended the Home Minister suspend these officers, because of the delays in prosecution. We believe these officers should not be serving in the police,” Hameed said.

However in an interview with local media on Monday, President of the PIC Abdulla Waheed said the commission had investigated a total of 20 cases of police misconduct that took place on February 6,7 and 8.

Waheed said these included cases initiated by the commission itself, and cases investigated based on complaints filed at the commission, out of which only two are pending at the moment.

Out of the 20 cases, 12 cases concerned police brutality during the crackdown on protests and during the events that unfolded, while eight concerned issuance of unlawful orders, obeying unlawful orders and officers failing to comply with the law while on duty, said Waheed.

“There are very serious issues in these cases. They include brutal and inhuman conduct by police officers,” he said.

Waheed also claimed that it had sent cases of four police officers to Prosecutor General (PG) office for criminal prosecution. He added that out of the four officers, three were commissioned officers however he declined to reveal any names.

The PIC Chair also said that while there remained cases filed on allegations lacking any basis, the cases that needed to be investigated had now been completed and sent to the PG while at the same time the commission would also send recommendations to address issues with the police to Home Ministry.

“We will address the issues highlighted in the recommendations made by independent institutions and the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) report. There are no cases being investigated regarding the events of February 6 and 7,” Waheed said.

Some police officers are currently facing criminal charges for their misconduct during the events including two police officers who had allegedly assaulted and attacked opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Mariya Ahmed Didi and ‘Reeko’ Moosa.

Police Officer Ibrahim Faisal is currently being charged for attacking Mariya Ahmed Didi on February 8 while another officer, Mohamed Waheed, is also facing criminal charges for assaulting MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa, hitting him on the head with a metal canister.

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