The Criminal Court has extended the pretrial detention of the 78 people arrested from the island of Anbaraa to 10 days.
Yesterday police searched more than 200 persons and arrested 79, including one minor, during a music festival on Ambara island in Vaavu atoll.
Of the 79 persons arrested 19 were females, with local media reporting that all those arrested tested positive for illicit drugs.
When those arrested were summoned to the Criminal Court last night, a group of people gathered in the area attempted to create unrest with police arresting three persons near the court, local media reported.
Local media also reported that one expat was among the 79 persons arrested. Minivan News understands that it was a Malaysian national identified as Wen Que that was arrested from the island.
According to media reports, the minor that was arrested was summoned to the Juvenile Court and her detention period extended to five days house arrest.
Home Minister Umar Naseer in a tweet has said that law will be enforced without any exemptions, writing that “anybody can party but no drugs on the menu.’’
Newspaper Haveeru has reported that the son of Maldives National Defence Force Chief Major General Ahmed Shiyam was among those arrested. The son of prominent businessman ‘South’ Thaufeeq and the son of Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) MP-elect Brigadier General (retired) Ibrahim Mohamed were also reported to have been arrested at the festival.
Meanwhile, former President Mohamed Nasheed this morning gave an interview to MDP-aligned radio station Minivan 97, saying that the raid was politically motivated suggesting that Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb was responsible.
Nasheed alleged that Adeeb had purposefully put all the youth into the same place in order to arrest them and took them all.
He also said that he did not believe all the young people that went there went with the intention of abusing illicit drugs.
Nasheed alleged that President Abdulla Yameen and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were trying to rule the country by forcibly controlling the youth – calling for people to come out and protect young people.
He recalled an incident that occurred in 1979 when the then-President Gayoom arrested a large group of youth before allegedly torturing them. He suggested that the youth did not open their mouths to talk about it until Gayoom’s 30 year administration was over.
A person present at the festival told Minivan News that on Friday night at about 12am he started hearing loud explosions.
“I thought one of the speakers had a fault but then I kept hearing that sound from different sides so I went out to see what was going on,’’ he said.
“When I came out the whole place was full of smoke and I thought it was part of their plan to make the event more enjoyable.’’
He said he then saw the tip of a gun coming slowly towards him.
“I still thought it was a toy gun and it was part of their plan to surprise people but then I saw the face of a person wearing a mask and then I saw police the police uniform,’’ he said.
“The police officer came and pointed the gun at my forehead and told me to get down on my knees, I just automatically fell down on my knees with my hands on my head – it was like a computer game scene.’’
The source said that he then looked around and realised that there was a police raid on the island and that the loud sound he had heard came from the smoke grenades the police had thrown all over.
“The police were very violent, the male police officers ran after the males and the female officers chased down the females, they used batons and swimming fins to beat people,’’ he said. “Then we were all handcuffed behind our backs and made to lie on the ground for more than an hour and a half.’’
He said the police mostly arrested those who were in possession of illicit drugs.
“Lots and lots of illegal drugs were found inside the tents, mostly hash oil and ecstasy pills,’’ the source said. “Those who were not in possession of any illicit drugs were released after the search.’’
He also said that all the females that went to the party were arrested except for two. He denied the allegations that some of the girls were naked when police raided the island.
“No one was naked but they were all under dressed,’’ he added.