The ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has accused the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) of “threatening” and “intimidating” police and army officers to prevent them from testifying at the inquiry commission set up to investigate the February 7 transfer of power.
In an interview to DhiTV on June 30, PPM deputy leader Umar Naseer claimed six high-ranking police and military officers loyal to deposed President Mohamed Nasheed were holding secret meetings with other security officers in a bid to persuade their colleagues to tell the commission that the change of government occurred through a coup d’état.
“We know that these things are being done,” said Naseer. “We are very closely following the actions of these people. All I have to say to these people is that the government has changed, within the boundaries of the law. Hence, stay with this government. Otherwise, change your thinking, and leave your current posts. Don’t force us to take action in these matters”.
The six officers named are Chief Superintendent of Police Mohamed Hameed, Superintendent of Police Adnan Anees, Chief Inspector of Police Mohamed Abdul Samad, Lieutenant Colonel Jihad, Lieutenant Colonel Zubair and Colonel Ziyad. DhiTV also broadcast pictures of the six officers.
In a press release on July 3, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor said Naseer’s statements were “thinly veiled threats” to “intimidate potential witnesses before the CoNI.”
The Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) was set up by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to assess the circumstances surrounding President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation. Following international concerns over the commission’s impartiality, Waheed reconstituted CoNI in June to include a foreign judge and a member representing Nasheed.
Nasheed’s former Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam and National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal released a report outlining what the MDP government knew of then-opposition’s plan to topple the government by soliciting “about 500 police officers” to protest in Republic Square – a demonstration that was joined by opposition supporters and led to Nasheed’s resignation “under duress” on February 7. The government described the report as a “terrorist act.”
Chief Superintendent Mohamed Hameed was subsequently arrested, while other police officers who had cooperated with the report were rounded up and detained, and their houses searched.
Police initially denied the allegations of a “witch hunt” and issued a statement accusing the media of “circulating baseless and false reports”. However court warrants for the arrest of Hameed and Staff Sergeant Ahmed Naseer were subsequently leaked.
In DhiTV’s report, Naseer said the six officers were plotting to influence CoNI’s report to reflect Ameen and Aslam’s findings.
“[Loyalist elements] of the police and military have been made well aware of these people, who are trying to ensure that the report of the Commission is in favour of Nasheed, by their own actions, during Nasheed’s regime,”Naseer warned.
“All I have to say to these people is that we have been very closely observing your actions,” he repeated.
Following the reconstitution of CoNI, an additional 244 people have registered to testify at the commission. CoNI is expected to complete its report by the end of August.