Police are investigating reports of a person being beaten in police custody, after a 17 year-old boy told Minivan News he was arbitrarily arrested on Boduthakurufaanu Magu on Saturday night before being driven in a police vehicle to a dark spot near Male’s artificial beach where he was violently beaten by officers with batons.
The 17 year-old told Minivan News that he had been on the phone in front of a police officer’s house earlier that day, before the officer came out of the building and confronted him.
“I did not answer him and asked him to wait, as I was on the phone,” he said. “Later that night, while I was on Boduthakurufaanu Magu near the ‘Ekuveni Stadium’ in Galolhu, I saw police officers searching for me with a picture of me in their hands.”
As soon as he neared the stadium, all the police officers jumped on him and locked him inside police vehicle, he claimed.
”They said I had tried to attack a police officer by waiting near his house, and said I was not to threaten the police. They took me near artificial beach,” he said.
”It was around midnight when we reached the beach. All of the officers got out of the police bus and took me to a dark area near ”Andhiri Stage” [literally ‘Dark Stage’- a stage formally used to perform music shows but now unused].
The 17 year-old said the squad, consisting of “around 22″ police officers then started beating him simultaneously with their batons.
”They kept saying that it was what someone would get for trying to attack police,” he explained. ”They kept beating me until they received an urgent call to attend a fight that was occurring near Bandeyrikoshi, so they took me with them to the crime scene in the police bus.”
He said that one of the groups involved in the fighting had fled before the police arrived, but that the other group attacked police while he was kept inside the vehicle.
”They arrested some of the boys and drove to drop them off to police custodial,” he said. ”They were planning to drop them off and take me back to the artificial beach to beat me again.”
However, when the bus reached police custodial, the 17 year-old said he jumped out of the bus and ran inside the building, where he begged for help from a Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) officer who was on duty at the time.
”He told me to stay inside the interview room, then went outside and shouted at the police officers who had attacked me and told them that they couldn’t touch me again,” he said.
The boy said he went to meet President Mohamed Nasheed last night during the launch of a campaign office for an MDP candidate ahead of the local council elections, and told him what had happened to him.
”He was shocked to hear what the police officers told me inside the vehicle – they said they would make the people turn against ‘Anni’ (the President’s nickname) and would make citizens run after him with swords,” the boy alleged.
The boy said he had attended hospital for treatment and an X-ray of his injuries, where doctors discovered his spine had suffered internal injuries.
Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that police had received reports of a person who was tortured while in police custody, and were now investigating the incident.