Police acts on February 8 unlawful, Police Integrity Commission tells Majlis Committee

President of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Shahindha Ismail has told the Majlis’ Independent Institutions Oversight Committee that police actions on February 8 were unlawful, and that police officers had used undue force to disperse a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) demonstration.

Video footage of the February 8 demonstration show police in riot gear tear gassing and brutally beating unarmed civilians in front of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) building.

The MDP took to the streets after former President Mohamed Nasheed claimed he was had resigned “under duress” following a police and military mutiny the previous day on February 7.

Responding to questions from MDP MP Ahmed Sameer, Shahindha said police had violated clauses 1, 8 and 11 of Article 7 of the Police Act. These clauses stipulate that police must respect and uphold fundamental rights of citizens, uphold and protect individual dignity, humanity and human rights, and must not under any circumstances subject any individual to inhuman, degrading or cruel treatment.

MP of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Mohamed Hussein asked Shahindha which measures the PIC had used to determine whether police had in fact used excessive force.

“There is a specific act regarding the use of batons,” Shahindha said. “While watching live coverage of the protest, I saw a policeman stretch out his arm with a baton and hit a citizen on his head. That is indisputably unlawful.”

Shahindha said the PIC had immediately called police-in-charge at the time Abdulla Phairoosh and had asked that police show restraint.

“Phairoosh said he was not aware [of police brutality]. We also asked for the police to leave the site if they cannot act within the law. Phairoosh agreed. But we did not see that happen,” she claimed.

Moreover, Shahindha said the police had also violated Article 41 of the Police Act which requires the police to inform the PIC if a police officer causes any harm to a citizen due to use of force, or while individual is under custody.

But Shahindha noted police were fully cooperating with the PIC in investigations, and that the PIC was prioritising the investigation of the events of February 6, 7, and 8.

Responding to questions from MP of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Rozaina Adam, Shahindha said while the police had the fundamental right to disobey an unlawful command and the right to ask their commissioner to resign under such circumstances, she could not state whether police actions on February 7 constituted a police mutiny until investigations were complete.

Parties allied with President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan refute allegations of police mutiny, stating that police officers were exercising their right not to obey an unlawful command on February 7.

In addition to the PIC, the Independent Institutions Oversight Committee also met with the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) and the Prosecutor General (PG) to question them about police brutality allegations and the detention of Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Human rights violations

The HRCM told the Independent Institutions Oversight Committee that they believed human rights violations had occurred on February 8. HRCM said their monitors were active on the streets and had visited Dhoonidhoo Remand Center and the hospitals that day.

Speaking at a meeting held to mark the 79th anniversary of the Maldives Police Services, Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz said he would not conduct an internal investigation, saying that he had asked the HRCM to look into the matter.

But President of HRCM Mariyam Azra said the police had not asked the HRCM for a formal investigation into police brutality.

“We did not receive a formal request for investigation. However, in a meeting with the police commissioner, after we asked the police to conduct an internal investigation through the police’s professional standards unit, he asked us to look into it as well. We do not believe that is a formal request for investigation,” Azra said.

Speaking to Minivan News after the committee hearing, Shahindha said if the police conducted an internal investigation into brutality allegations it would increase their integrity in the public eye.

CNI not independent: PIC

DRP MP Visam Ali asked if the PIC would collaborate with the presidential Committee of National Inquiry (CNI), which is charged with assessing the facts regarding Nasheed’s resignation.

New President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan instituted the three member committee following international pressure for an independent investigation into the transfer of power. However, the CNI has come under fire from the MDP and local civil society groups for unilateralism and lack of independence.

“The CNI has said it is not carrying out a criminal investigation. All of the PIC’s investigations carry a criminal aspect. I do not see the point of joint-investigations with the CNI,” Shahindha said.

“I do not believe the commission is independent or impartial nor does it have the mandate to investigate the matter,” she added.

The PIC had now completed 90 percent of its February 6, 7, and 8 investigations, Shahindha said.

Although the PIC and HRCM said they would be looking into police brutality and human rights violations during the transfer of power, the commissions had previously told Minivan News they did not have the mandate to look into the legality of the transfer of power.

Footage of the MDP protest and police response on February 8, following the change of government


17 thoughts on “Police acts on February 8 unlawful, Police Integrity Commission tells Majlis Committee”

  1. Both PIC and HRCM have failed their mandates, none of this matters. All this is to keep external human rights authorities and entities out of the investigation.

  2. So the PIC has finally spoken.
    Glad to know they too agree that what everyone else also saw, felt, heard and experienced, got the injuries, doctors' reports, pictures and the videos - did happen after all!

    Interesting that PPM MP Mohamed Hussain doesn't know blood when he sees it or maybe he doesn't know that blood is - red? What measure of force draws blood? And would that be enough or not enough force?

    And even the HRCM "believed human rights violations had occurred on February 8". Good grief - what's the world coming to? Is everyone coming out of a deep sleep or something?

    Would have been good to know whether any of this information meant anything to the so called "Majlis’ Independent Institutions Oversight Committee". Who knows, by tomorrow, this meeting may be declared by them as not having taken place at all!!

  3. so what, MDP has destroyed the whole nation that day by burning public properties

  4. The Police is not a military force and hence they do not mutiny. What they did was a strike.
    If the people in PIC do not know this how can they prosecute the Police?
    Everyone knew that the Police lost it on the 8th and people responsible have to be prosecuted but when the PIC use terms like Mutiny then the whole purpose of this investigation is lost.

  5. Hahahahahah. Typical of Minivann And no mention of MDP terrorism targetting public and private property all over Male and spreading their lies over the international community. If I was a police I would throw away the batons and use a tractor. I hate MDP scum!

  6. HRCM has faile miserably to protect the fundamental rights of Maldivians! I have seen almost all the rights stated in the Constitution violated by the Police and Army on 6, 7 and 8 February 2012. Video evidence is available on the Internet. There is not a single case of disciplinary (visible) action taken until now.
    PIC should first investigate and question the appointment of Riyaz and all the action of Police captured on video.
    I agree with @Shaz, this is an attempt to prevent external Agencies from investigating.

  7. There is a culture of police brutality in the malidves.


  8. Why do we need a police force to hit us to spray tear gas and traumatize us? If they think they are a force to fight people, than why not fight with fairness both side with arms like gladiators. The state of Maldives is going through medieval period. The political parties are tribesmen and fighting each other to show the mussels. The police force is mixtures of all rivalries. Let’s be fair dismantling police force and will keep factional fight till we come out of medieval period. The nature is s cruel it never allows living things to emerge victorious without evolutionary process. The case of Maldives is a proof of evolution.

  9. @ yasir .. This is not about MDP .. U can hate MDP but if u hink what the police did to the civilians during the past 2 months is correct u come from a different planet... Not as a human being for sure

  10. @ Yasir...I suspect you are one of those heartless cruel idiots from the police forces .. If I have a way all police involved in the beating of civilians will be tried under PPM proposed death penalty. Even if can't do anything .. The hell fires will do justice for the cruelty that was practiced by the police forces ...

  11. @Ekaloa

    you should try and have a look at the timeline of events that occurred on Feb 8th.

    even though PIC says Police actions were unlawful don't think there is any chance they will take responsibility for any of it. sad indeed.

  12. I am more worried about the MDP members walking out of the 241 committee.

    I thought MDP wants the public to know the truth about the resignation of Nasheed?

    Isn't this what we all want? Now it seems that MDP does not want the public to know the truth and hence walk out of the 241 committee so the public would be in the dark about his resignation.

    Is there something that MDP does not want the public to find out?

  13. @manik: Can a rapist be judge and jury to decide whether there was a rape or not? That's what this 241 Committee is all about. This is beyond MDP. It is about the fundamental rights of Maldivians as humans. We do not have a Human rights Commission. It is better called an In-Human rights Commission. The HIC is a hoot. All bought off by the rapists. Why is no one talking about the police destroying their own property? They smashed their own mess room among other things. Now we are paying for it. Wake up people.

  14. the Commision of national inquiry is a joke. What with gayoom's defence minister in charge and the other 2 handpicked by waheed,the findings are already clear as light of day! gayoom has won again.


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