PIC requests punishment of officers for unlawful arrest of Thulhaadhoo Council president

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has recommended the Home Ministry take action against police officers involved in the arrest of Thulhaadhoo Island Council President Ahmed Rasheed earlier this year, according to media reports.

On January 26, 2013, police arrested Rasheed on charges of creating unrest while participating in a protest against Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla when he arrived on Thulhaadhoo.

Along with Rasheed and island council member Ziyau Rasheed Ibraim, 11 people were arrested over their alleged involvement in confrontations on the island.

The PIC’s recommendation was made after investigating a complaint filed by Rasheed contending that his arrest had been unlawful.

Rasheed claimed in the complaint that he was arrested in his home after the protest was over by police officers with their faces covered.

Channel News Maldives reported at the time that clashes had occurred between supporters of the the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the government-aligned Adhaalath Party during Sheikh Imran’s visit.

The councilors were released the next day after being taken to court for extension of the period of their detention.

Concluding its investigation into Rasheed’s arrest this week, the PIC’s report stated that the police officers had arrested and handcuffed Rasheed in violation of arrest procedures.

The PIC report explained that officers were required to follow regulations specifying the procedure for handcuffing a suspect during an arrest.

In reference to other claims made by Rasheed that police used inappropriate language when they communicated with him, the PIC said that the investigation team was unable to prove whether or not allegations were true.

A police spokesperson today told Minivan News that no instructions had been received from the Home Ministry on the PIC’s recommendations concerning the case at time of press.

“The PIC procedure is they send these recommendations directly to the Home Ministry, and the ministry will then forward the case and have us take action against officers. The Home Ministry may also take action,’’ he said.

PIC Director General Fathimath Sareera Ali Shareef was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Earlier this week, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ali Rasheed revealed that the police disciplinary committee had decided not to take any action against five police officers facing criminal prosecution over police brutality against MDP demonstrators on February 8, 2012.

The decision was made despite a recommendation from the PIC to the home ministry to take administrative action against the six police officers accused of brutality.