The following is a translation of a leaked “letter of concern” circulating on social media, submitted by senior officers of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to Chief of Defence Force Major-General Ali Shiyam on September 28. Following the release of the letter the MNDF amended its regulations to punish officers who promoted “upheaval and chaos”. Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal was subsequently removed from his position as the Commandant of Training and Doctrine,while First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef (Marine Corp), Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid were dismissed from service. First Lieutenant Mohamed Haleem resigned, stating “For the last 23 years [of my military service]; I have served this country under a solemn oath taken in the name of Allah, I do not see any way that I can carry out my duties as prescribed in the constitution and the military act, while in this position, therefore I request you to relieve me from my duties.”
To Chief of Defence Force Major General Ali Shiyam:
Whereas Article 236 in Chapter 9 of the Republic of Maldives’ Constitution states the Maldivian security services, consisting of the Military Service and the Police Service, is established to enable all persons in the Maldives to live in peace, security and freedom,
Whereas Article 237 states the security services shall protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies,
And whereas Article 238 states that the actions of the security services must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and operate on the basis of accountability,
And whereas Article 111 states that if no candidate wins by over fifty percent of the votes in a presidential election, a run-off election must be held within twenty one days of the first election,
And whereas Article 142 states judges must comply with the constitution and the law,
On 7 September 2013, a presidential election was held as per Article 110 of the Constitution. The Elections Commission announced a second round of election on 28 September 2013 as per Article 111 of the constitution.
According to Article 111 of the constitution, a second round of election must be held within 21 days after the first election, and that date is 28 September 2013. We believe, given Article 8 of the Constitution states that the powers of the state shall be exercised in accordance with the constitution, and as 28 September 2013 is the last date on which the second round of the presidential elections can be held, the Supreme Court order to delay the election is one that creates dangers for the nation and its citizens and creates challenges from a national security point of view, and may impede the military from carrying out is constitutionally mandated duties.
As per Article 237 the security forces are mandated with defending democratic institutions, and maintaining and enforcing law and order.
Given the shifting national security atmosphere in the country, and as the Maldivian state’s independent institutions and the international community are repeatedly calling for all parties to respect the constitution, we believe any military act that violates constitutional rules and democratic norms, will destroy the sovereign state established in the Maldives, destroy law and order in the country, and allow for a military state to be established in the Maldives.
This is due to influential actors who may abuse the turmoil and constitutional void following the delay in presidential elections. We are concerned that the chain of command established in the military as per the laws will be lost, and will allow for the military to be used as a tool to hand over administration of the state to a certain group of people.
Article 245 states that no one is allowed to issue an illegal order to a member of the security services and that members of the security services should not obey such an order. Hence, due to orders issued in the above mentioned situation, this institution [military] may fall into a deep pit, and we fear that subordinate commanders and lower ranks may be legally locked into a dark cell and may be criminally charged at a later date.
Hence, we express grave concern, and appeal for this institution not to be propelled into a deep pit, and state that we will steadfastly remain with good military behavior and good order against any illegal order.
28 September 2013
Brigadier General Shamal
Colonel Abdul Raheem
Brigadier General Ahmed Jihad
Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam
Colonel Hamid Shareef
Lt. Colonel Nasrulla Majdhee
Captain Abdul Muizz
Lt. Colonel Ibrahim Hilmee
Sergeant Major Hassan Fawaz
Sergeant Major Naushad Ali
First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef
First Lieutenant Mutholib [unclear]
Sergeant Major [first name unclear] Vaseem
Captain Hassan Amir