“We will not follow unconstitutional orders, even if a new president is installed tomorrow”: Police Commissioner Riyaz

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has said his institution will continue to refuse any orders it decides are “unconstitutional”, while expressing concerns over leaked proposals allegedly devised by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to reform the country’s security forces.

In an interview on the Maldives Police Service (MPS) website, Commissioner Riyaz expressed concern at a leaked policy paper that he alleged sought to dismantle and undermine law enforcement, calling for the opposition MDP to clarify if the policies were genuinely part of the party’s election policy.

“I don’t want to say anything specifically about something that has been prepared politically or for a political purpose, but we do have a constitution and the MPS is an institution formed by the constitution,” he said, speaking just over a month ahead of the 2013 presidential election.

Proposals in the paper – leaked on social media earlier this month – include transferring the police to the authority of city councils, similar to the system in the US, while providing salaries and allowances of officers through the Local Government Authority (LGA).

The MDP last week questioned the legitimacy of the leaked reform proposals, claiming the party had no knowledge of such a document, despite backing the idea of a ”transitional arrangement” to reform the country’s security forces after last year’s controversial transfer of power.

The opposition party continues to maintain that former President Mohamed Nasheed was deposed in a “coup d’etat” after being forced to resign from office following a mutiny by sections of the police and military.

The allegations were later rejected by a Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) that ruled that there had been “no coup, no duress and no mutiny”, while also calling for action taken against unlawful acts committed by the country’s security forces following the transfer.

“Dismantle” fears

Commissioner Riyaz, who took office immediately after the power transfer, said proposals in the leaked documents could not be implemented within regulations outlined under the Police Act.

The commissioner also rejected the professional capacity of individuals behind the reforms, which he claimed sought to “dismantle” and undermine the large role security services play in the country.

“I’d like to tell the MDP that they should clarify whether it is their policy or not. If it is their policy, it is of great concern. This [police] institution will be very concerned,” he said. “Politicians should not try to play with this institution. Help this institution develop. Work to make this institution more responsible. To make it operationally accountable. Don’t use political influence to carry out political objectives through this institution.”

Riyaz alleged that certain senior government figures over the last three years had attempted to limit or weaken police in the country through the use of political influence that led to officers “straying from their path”.

He insinuated that police would not allow a similar event to happen again.

With an estimated 3,500 individuals employed within the MPS, including a large number of families, Riyaz questioned whether any political leader would seek to “discredit” the institution.

“I don’t believe that someone who is working to become the leader of this country will do this because of these reasons.  This country will do this because of these reasons,” he said. “To maintain law and order in the country, firstly no one can govern, unless they are able to maintain law and order.”

Commissioner Riyaz added that the mandate of the police was set out in the constitution, adding that any reforms to the institution’s work could only be enacted by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

“We remain firm. We will not follow any unconstitutional orders, even if a new president is instated tomorrow,” he said during the interview. “Even if I’m not here, the rest will also not follow these orders. Maldivian politicians should know this. I believe they do.”

“Whichever individual becomes President tomorrow can no longer just change the constitution, the existing law. That individual, holding the presidency,  can only bring such big changes with a parliamentary majority.”

When contacted to clarify the comments within the interview, Commissioner Riyaz today forwarded inquiries to Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef.

Chief Inspector Haneef defined an unconstitutional order for the police as something that contradicted Maldivian law.

“Operationally we are independent. We do not follow political orders, but we follow the country’s law,” Haneef said.

He added that officers would refuse to follow orders “outside the law” whether they were issued by a president, or a superior officer.

Asked who was responsible for determining whether a particular order was unconstitutional, Haneef said the decision would be made in accordance with regulations outlined in the Police Act, as well as official codes and procedures outlined by the MPS itself.

“It is very clear within the Police Act [as to how a constitutional order] is defined,” he said. “Every person must be accountable for the orders they give.”

At times of press, Minivan News was awaiting a response from the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) over the correct procedure for reforms and the definition of an “unconstitutional order”.

Reform mandate

Speaking last week, MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor personally dismissed having knowledge of the leaked paper on police reforms, despite claiming that the opposition party had considered the need for a “transitional agreement” for reforms of the country’s security forces based on recommendations raised in last year’s CoNI report.

With the CoNI process concluded, Ghafoor accused the Commonwealth and the wider international community of failing to ensure reforms to strengthen democratic institutions called for in the report’s findings were met.

He alleged that the MPS had failed to fully be transferred from a militarised to civil institution dating back to the administration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s before the country’s first multi-party democratic election in 2008.

“Gayoom had moved to separate the military and police into different bodies. In the end, he failed to do this adequately,” Ghafoor said.

Despite pledging to reform the police and military, the MDP said it was not planning a “witch-hunt”.

According to Ghafoor, the MDP was instead focused on trying to secure a “huge election majority” in order to carry out reforms with the mandate of the public.

“This will help solve everything,” he said at the time.


16 thoughts on ““We will not follow unconstitutional orders, even if a new president is installed tomorrow”: Police Commissioner Riyaz”

  1. Hahaha...

    Then, we will make it legal to toy with police. We will change the constitution to make the police look like dimwits.

    Then, it will be by law that you get trampled upon!

    Why shouldn't we? Every institution, every politician, every health facility, is robbing the people's right to being served equally, fairly. Mordis is a failure on all fronts. People are getting fed up with mullahs intimidating the country. Politicians swindling people's money. Murderers waltzing the streets. Judges laughing at us, toying with public.

    And police thinks they are on the high horse?


  2. Riyaz is an unconstitutional CP. He is a criminal, with a bounty of 250,000$ on his head, to be delivered on live capture and delivery.

    He should turn himself in, and plead guilty to fitna for a lighter punishment.

  3. Riyaz said, "Don’t use political influence to carry out political objectives through this institution.”

    ......except on February 7th 2012 of course. Using political influence to carry out political objectives through police on february 7th was totally ok. But if you do it after that it's bad!

  4. Police political commissioner Riyaz, is going crazy...lets see how many police officers would like be part of politicizing its office. I don't think many would vote for that.

  5. This mega national police institution is wielding too much political clout national power for the politicians to ignore and thus this has led them to be a major political player now, despite what Riyaz is saying. Although at the same time, I do not think the proposed bringing the city police under local government authority would reduce corruption, but the breakup of the police would indeed reduce their political clout and perhaps a reduced local force would have the psychological effect whereby there is reduced abuse of power within their ranks.

    Perhaps establishing territorial police with local authority i.e establishing a chain of command locally with a chief. Then establishing a smaller special police force with national jurisdiction that would work with the territorial in solving large organized crime, and special cases. The special police would be smaller but highly technical and specialized. To reduce overhead an independent police academy.

    There are a number of challenges to such changes namely current local government authority isn't mature enough to handle a territorial/ regional police force. Then there would the issue of courts in regions, rife with incompetency.

  6. Who decides on the "constitutionality" of the orders? Looks like there's no one in the land who actually understands the venerable constitution. It's almost gaining a divine status; we need "scholars" to interpret it for us.

    Where in the world can we get such "scholars". Oh, light bulb's on! The Supreme Court, of course. It has learned "scholars" educated in Makkah (with refined tastes in white wine and other matters...).

  7. This shows how this institution is corrupted and dangerous for the democracy to evolve. This guy is totally out of control and he has kind of mentality that he is above the laws and it is up to him to decide what is constitutional and what is not constitutional. So he is the superman and he will decide when to take action and revolt against the people’s wish.

    It is obvious; you must dismantle this mafia gang if you want democracy and freedom to get started. There is no risk in dismantling this unruly force. You need few professional body guards who can give security for president, parliament members and the judges. You can have small armed force in case you have to control a violent mob. Once you give freedom to people, people are wise enough to take care of themselves. You don’t need a force to control free people because free people don’t have any reason to come on the street and fight each other. Anyone can live his life the way he wants without disrupting in others life.

    You can have a small professional educated law enforcement agency with intelligent and forensic division. This is all you need in Maldives and everything will be OK. And you need a government like MDP to achieve this kind of mission and hope Maldivians are wise enough to elect a government who can get rid of people like this self employed arrogant police commissioner

  8. The police force has been tradionally used to enforce political control over the society. This is why they are distrusted and feared by the citizens. In order for them to take a law enforcement role, officers need to be taken from the community where they serve, reporting to the local civil government.

    First things first, the Chief of Police needs to be someone of a higher itelligence, if not sincerity. Cringe inducing statements like "No to Unconstitutional Orders!" come from Maifia Dons who failing to suceed, break their societal contract in order to get ahead. He is mediocre even as a criminal, a smart bandit would not make such a statement.

  9. According to our Intelligence Agency, his constitution does considers the arrest of looters, thieves, drug traffickers, murderers and child abusers to be unconstitutional.

    For the safety and security of all Maldivians, regardless of political turn, place of birth or ideology, it is important to disregard his constitution and punish him.

  10. I don't think this dude follows anything but whatever pops up into his small head.

  11. The whole thing reminds me of Major giving his last speech at the Animal Farm!

    So bloody concerned about a policy the Police probably cooked and now trying to frame MDP to be its maker.

    The Police undoubtedly on 7th February, 2012 revolted against the elected government of the people!

    This is something Riyaz can never wipe out from the History of Maldives! No way!

    It was the Police who mutinied first and went against the law!

    Riyaz can never back track on the facts of the event! And there is no way Riyaz can say he did not play a major part in the coup!

    Anyone observant, could see that Riyaz is very afraid now!

  12. B@$##@rD bashed up political rivals in Hondaidhoo in a clear case of the Police being the Judge, Juror, Executioner and Avenger, in this case punishing the "Laadheenee" up front, baton bashing and kicking sand in their faces, creeping up while they slept and yanking them from their beds, and this in some crazy way is Constitutional to this Gory B@$##@rD? Now, look here Neil, shall I tell you exactly where the Commissioner can shove his reading of the Constitution?

  13. Get ready to face a treason charge Riyaz. It carries the death penalty under Islamic Shariah. FYI, your underlings dislike you as much as we do. You have been part of a corrupted regime for too long.

  14. @ali rasheed on Tue, 30th Jul 2013 6:23 PM

    Sorry, Shariah law applies only to Mordisians under girls only.

    Men are exempt from the Shariah.

    Which is really what it is. Shariah is the Arabian male-Camels compilation of Bedouin wet-dreams. Cold Wine, under-age girls and boys, uneducated dimwits lusting and yearning for power, wealth and sex.

    Think.... Creator of the universe can do, doesn't need a wasted language, use of illiterate goat herders to carry on a global message. If He so desires, humans, ants, and whatever inbetween will not break a step in the rhythms. Why use Arabian pigs?

  15. @Falho Huseynuge Fah Kandaa Zahir:

    LOVE your name, resonates an elevating vibe of eloquence, nobility and strength!

    You have a delivered a strong truth as well. I did not know this before. This truth cut me like the the blade of a sword.


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