Former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Rishwan has denied findings of a Police Integrity Commission (PIC) investigation that he ordered police officers to forcibly cut the hair of several persons that were arrested during a special operation, conducted in July last year when he was in police force.
In a press statement issued to the media, Rishwan said that he had never committed a criminal offence during his time as Deputy Commissioner, and that he had only sought to be accountable for the actions of police as he was in charge of the operations conducted across the country.
Rishwan said he had served the nation for 18 years and that he had a right to defend his status and protect his reputation.
Rishwan denied giving the order to cut the hair of the detained suspects and insisted that he had cooperated with the investigation into the incident after he had learned of it.
The PIC launched an investigation into allegations made by several persons that were arrested during the special operation that they were mistreated and their hair was forcibly cut without their consent.
After the investigation, the commission publicised the investigation report which said that Rishwan was the person bearing responsibility for the action, as he had confessed to the PIC that he gave orders to cut the hair of arrested persons.
The PIC also alleged that Rishwan had violated the Police Act and said that the case had now been sent to the Prosecutor General to press criminal charges against Rishwan.
Rishwan resigned from his position in July this year. Speaking to local media about the decision at the time, Rishwan said his resignation was based solely on wanting to spend more time with his family.
Back in February, Rishwan was reported to have been temporarily suspended from his duties after allegedly failing to follow orders regarding a dispute over taking control of the Thulusdhoo Atoll Council’s office without a court warrant.
In July last year, 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 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.