President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has withdrawn the nomination of former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Rishwan to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC).
The nominee was sent to parliament after former chair of the PIC, Shahinda Ismail, resigned from the post in October citing the oversight body’s failure to hold the police accountable.
A letter informing the People’s Majlis of the president’s decision to withdraw the nomination was read out at the beginning of the sitting of parliament yesterday (December 31, 2012)
While reasons for the withdrawal were not specified in the letter, parliament’s secretary general said that the Independent Institutions Committee had requested the President to withdraw Rishwan’s name.
The committee noted that there were pending cases involving Rishwan. In October 2011, the PIC found that Rishwan had ordered subordinates to cut the hair of a number of youth in police custody while he was serving as deputy commissioner in July 2010.
Following its investigation, the PIC asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to press charges against the former deputy commissioner.
Rishwan retired from the police service in July 2011.
In July 2010, police and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) arrested almost 60 people, including children, in a joint special operation launched to curb the rise in gang violence.
Many arrested at the time claimed that their mobile phones and personal belongings were confiscated and were not returned when they were released.
Almost everyone arrested in the operation was released without any charges.
A number of those arrested claimed they were mistreated and abused in custody, including being forced to remove their clothes, blindfolded and beaten.
“I was arrested while I was on the way to Dharumavantha School to get a document,” one of those arrested told Minivan News at the time. “While I was waiting near the traffic lights on Sosun magu, two policemen and two MNDF officers told me to be freeze, came up behind me and handcuffed me and my friend.”
“I asked them on what charges they were arresting me, and where they were taking me, and they said they needed me to clarify some information.”
He said the officers pushed him into a police bus and blindfolded him with his hands tied with clips.
“They took me to a place and removed my silver ear-rings, my bracelets, necklace and sunglasses,” he claimed. “Then they took me to a place and removed the blindfold on my eye, and ordered me to remove my clothes. I refused, but I had no other choice so I did, and they told me to bend over. They harassed me verbally and physically.”
He claimed the officers involved were covering their faces.
“After checking me they blindfolded me again, and then took me to somewhere else. I asked them where they were taking me, they said that I should speak only when I am spoken to,” he said. “They pushed me into another room, where they trimmed my hair. When I tried to refuse, they hit and beat me.”