The Maldives Police Services have denied former President Mohamed Nasheed was brutalised when he was escorted into the Criminal Court yesterday.
Speaking to the press last night, Superintendent of Police Hamdhoon Rasheed said the opposition leader had staged a fall, and that his arms and fingers were not injured as he had claimed in the courtroom.
“When he fell and started to show resistance, the police attempted to ensure he received no injuries in taking him inside the courtroom,” he said.
Nasheed appeared in court for a terrorism trial with his arm in a makeshift sling. The opposition leader asked for immediate medical attention and right to legal counsel.
He had been arrested on Sunday on a court order that claimed he might abscond from the terrorism trial scheduled for the next day. Nasheed is being re-prosecuted on terrorism charges over the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Didi placed Nasheed in detention until the end of the trial and gave him three days to appoint a lawyer and answer charges.
Superintendent Rasheed also alleged politicians were calling up individual police officers and offering “large amounts of money” as bribes to carry out “certain activities” and leak information on investigations.
Nasheed had arrived at the Justice Building at 4:00pm under a heavy Specialist Operations (SO) police guard. When journalists attempted to question the former president, SO officers surrounded and manhandled him.
Minivan News journalists observed Nasheed repeatedly asking the police to pull back, saying he will walk into the court room on his own accord.
Nasheed fell down and his shirt was torn in the process.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) issued a statement last night condemning police brutality against the party’s president, claiming President Abdulla Yameen had directed the police’s actions.
“Police physically injured Nasheed when they took him into the Criminal Court on Presidents Yameen’s administration’s orders following his unlawful he was arrested against the constitution, regulations and international standards in making arrests,” the statement read.
Speaking at a press conference last night, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said that the party’s leadership was extremely worried over the former president’s safety.
MDP’s Vice Chairman Ali Shiyam had shared concerns with the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, he said.
“President Nasheed urges people to cross the boundary of fear and to come out on February 27,” Waheed said.
Speaking on TVM’s “Maldives Today” programme last night, Presidential Affairs Minister Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussein Shareef accused Nasheed of playing “stunts” in order to get international media attention and said such incidents tarnished Maldives’ image.
He claimed the government was not under any international pressure, saying expressions of concern by international organizations and foreign countries “do not amount to pressure.”
Nasheed as commander-in-chief had “kidnapped” Judge Abdulla Mohamed, Mundhu said, arguing: “When the case begins in a court, how can it be called a political act in a society that believes offenders must be tried?”
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb, speaking alongside Mundhu, said President Yameen would not interfere with the Prosecutor General’s Office or the judiciary.
“We are not like President Nasheed’s administration. We would not lock up the Supreme Court or the Majlis or disappear politicians. In our administration, the police will not act without a court order,” the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ deputy leader said.
“In a democratic environment with separation of powers, how can we influence the other power,” he said.
Nasheed must be tried and penalized to ensure justice is done to Judge Abdulla Mohamed, he continued.
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