Police have charged 43 year-old Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist Shiyan ‘Shiyalhey’ Shafeeq for disrupting public order, creating instability, planning arson attacks and assaulting security services during a city-wide protest on March 19, 2012.
Police alleged Shiyan not only planned the attacks but also was involved in committing these crimes. The case was forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office on July 14, police said.
Shiyalhey has been arrested several times previously on charges of disrupting public order and creating violence during political demonstrations.
The MDP held the March 19 protest to disrupt President Mohamed Waheed’ s attempt to give the opening address to parliament. Waheed had been sworn in just over a month earlier, following the controversial resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed
A group of 200 anti-government protesters replete with MDP and Maldivian national flags staged a sit down demonstration outside Majeediyya school near the parliament in protest over the President delivering his address, while inside the parliament chamber MDP MP’s barricaded the door to prevent the new president from entering.
The charges followed the high court’s recent upholding of a seven year prison term for eight men accused of throwing stones at the government-aligned VTV station on the day of the protests.
Appealing the sentence, Hameed argued that it was extraordinary practice for the court to impose the maximum possible sentence on a first time offender with no criminal record.
However the High Court, noting that the sentence was three to seven years, deferred to the discretion of the Criminal Court judge.
VTV is owned by MP Gasim Ibrahim, a resort tycoon, presidential candidate and member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) tasked with disciplining the judiciary.