Police defend US$100,000 weapons shipment

Police Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz has defended the import of of over US$100,000 (MVR1.5million) worth of crowd control equipment from the UK’s Survitec Group.

The shipment of items – including various types of tear gas grenades and ‘rubber projectiles’ – was revealed by the UK’s Guardian newspaper yesterday.

“It’s not that the police are going to use each and every shell that has been brought to Maldives. The intention is very clear, it’s not that we intend to use it every time people come out onto the streets,” Nawaz told Minivan News today.

“Anything can be controversial if people try to make it a controversial issue.”

The Guardian quoted the UK Government as saying that it had would have blocked any such exports from within the country.

“We have not issued any licences for the export or trade of crowd control equipment to the Maldives in at least the last year. Under current circumstances, we would not do so,” the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills told the Guardian.

“The British government remains deeply concerned about the ongoing political situation in Maldives, including the reports of intimidation, violence and arrests that have taken place in recent months.”

The items evaded such scrutiny as they were shipped from Brazil after being sold by a Singapore based subsidiary of the company.

The itinerary – shipped at a further cost of US$40,000 – has been leaked via social media, and includes tear gas and tear gas grenades costing US$46,632 (MVR718,132).

When asked if the police had been able to procure such equipment from other countries, or on other occasions since the controversial transfer of power last year, Nawaz said that he did not know and would need to gain further clarification.

Excessive force

The Guardian’s article quoted both Amnesty International and Friends of Maldives as being used for political repression, particularly following the police’s integral role in the delay of the rescheduled elections on October 19.

“It’s tempting to think this consignment looks like a case of pre-emptive stockpiling by the MPS, forewarning a possible crackdown if the elections process continues in a manner not to its liking,” Friends of Maldives’ Dave Hardingham told the Guardian.

Nawaz today argued that the equipment listed was perfectly ordinary for any police force to have, urging that people instead focus on the way in which the equipment was used.

“Even though there is tear gas, we should look into how police have reacted. I believe that during the past 18-19 months, the force actually used against protests was very minimum. Very rare occasions,” he said.

“I believe that police forces across the globe have such things – it’s not that this is happening for the first time in the Maldives.”

“I can guarantee that the police service itself would not get into an illegal act to use excessive force against a citizen of the republic of maldives.”

Nawaz said that the police would do everything it could to look into any cases of excessive force by police, and urged independent authorities such as the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and the Human Rights Commission to do the same.

February 7

The police played a key role in the contested resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7 2012.

Anti-government protests led by then-opposition political parties and religious scholars resulted in a mutiny by a segments of both police and military officers against Nasheed, resulting in his premature departure from office.

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

The demonstration were soon met, however, with a brutal crackdown from both police and military officers during which MDP MPs and members of the public sustained injuries.

The Commonwealth backed inquiry into the events of February 7, although claiming that the day’s events had not amounted to a coup, urged reform of the police force.

During a parliamentary inquiry by the Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) twelve months on, the PIC claimed that actions by police were  unlawful and amounted to crimes worthy of prosecution by the state.

After concluding its investigations last June, 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.

Out of the 20 cases, 12 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.

The police’s handling of anti-government protests in the months following the transfer of power were also chronicled by Amnesty International which urged the government to “remove any bias in the police force, so they act as officers of law without prejudice, and do not take sides politically.”


13 thoughts on “Police defend US$100,000 weapons shipment”

  1. The coup govt. spend more on weapons to harm their fellow countrymen, women and children and to keep democracy out.

  2. well Nawaz, of course the intentions are very clear for us. It was bought to use on us, not keep in waheed's anbondi!!!

  3. The regime is having to sell the family silver in order to import essential supplies of oil before it runs out in the next couple of weeks.

    In the meantime, we can clearly see where the regime's priorities lie, i.e. in stocking up weapons that can be used against unarmed civilians!

    This is typical of tyrants throughout the world; take a good look at Syria, Egypt etc. The regime is emulating the tactics used by the brutal leaders in those countries.

    It's dismaying to see that Brazil allowed this shipment to pass through there. Brazil is a country that champions equality and freedom.

  4. http://www.haveeru.com.mv
    As seen in the pic, the police often faces a very different opponent. She is a Mean Irrational Loud Feminist (MILF) with the best pose for international media

    Police is really fighting a media war and often police do not win

  5. What the F*ck? A** h*les are spending millions to control or harm their own people when the country does not have enough money to buy oil. I hope British Government will stop this shipment and money should be returned to STO to buy oil. In Maldives we don’t need police force. This was created by a dictator to protect his fat ass. The Maldivian are very peaceful people who have lived for thousand years as one people without violence without police and without judiciary. Our culture of peace was disrupted by a psycho and we are marching now to get back our lost pride. The only country in the world where you don’t need police or army; No police because we are one very peaceful people, most of the people will faint even by looking at blood, nor army because we don’t want fight with any country and surely no country will ever fight with such insignificant people like us. Once this police force is dismantled, the entire problem will be solved. Once our freedom is guaranteed and not disturbed by this bandit, no one will come on the street. We want run this small nation as small business emperor and live in the 21st century and most of the people want this, and we hope we can get there now Ebburun.
    We want get rid of police and this so called Jungiya judicial system. We will have private securities to keep robbers and mentally disturbed from harming the individuals. and private law farms to settles property and business dispute.

  6. “It’s not that the police are going to use each and every shell that has been brought to Maldives. The intention is very clear, it’s not that we intend to use it every time people come out onto the streets,”. A L A R M I N G !!!!!!!!

    It does look very clear!
    The Police is not going to play TOM & JERRY!
    They are not going to confront the opposition a second time!
    It more or less look like they are going wipe out the opposition in one shot! Which is something they could not do on 7th February, 2012!

    This is alarming!
    While the nation has no money to buy essential supply of oil to supply electricity and transportation ongoing, it has enough and more to buy these to wipe out those opposing a dictatorship!

  7. All the weapons in the world seem to exist merely for diffence but never aggression...( well that's the official version )

  8. Maybe the grenades and tear gas canisters were must-have's in this season's catalogue - "metallic" shades are so "in" gold, anyone? Anyone? Well! we have at least one who has always been partial to gold, we even have bathroom fittings in that shade in a certain "des res" in Male. Yawn yawn, cheap, tired jokes for not so cheap but certaintly tiresome characters. Still, we need some levity around here, since this particular plot does NOT include any form of imagination, let alone humour. OK gangsters (gangsta would be too much of a compliment) , keep doing more of the same thing - and see how you go. Just try not to overdo that metallic thing, will ya?

  9. The purchase of these weapons is unacceptable as we are short of funds to purchase necessary oil supplies and the weapon would be used to prevent the election of a legitimate government!

  10. @Richard:

    So I suppose we, the people should cobble together a chemical weapons program and gas the police worms when they come out to attack us.

    That will serve as a 'deterrent'.

  11. Yes; it is very true when Nawaz says “It’s not that the police are going to use each and every shell that has been brought to Maldives. The intention is very clear, it’s not that we intend to use it every time people come out onto the streets,”

    It is only when MDP comes out on the street that they will be using it....


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