Police destroy confiscated alcohol worth MVR4 million

The police destroyed confiscated alcohol with an estimated street value of MVR4 million (US$259,400) yesterday.

Police officers poured the contents of 1,200 cans of beer, 600 bottles of liquor, and 60 containers into a hole in the ground in the presence of journalists.

The elimination of alcohol seized during the past six years was carried out at the Dhoonidhoo island near Malé. The last time police destroyed evidence in completed cases was almost six years ago.

According to Sun Online, Superintendent Ahmed Shifan, head of the drug enforcement department, told the press that police are facing storage problems due to a large amount of seized alcohol bottles.

Shifan said seized alcohol and drugs seized were stored safely and police will be destroying the evidence in concluded cases every Saturday.


Weapons, alcohol and petrol bottles planted to disrupt peaceful protests, says MDP

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has claimed weapons, alcohol and petrol bottles found by the police during opposition protests over the weekend were planted to disrupt peaceful protests.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Vice President Mohamed Shifaz described the weapons find as “an attempt to instil fear among the public.”

On Friday, Specialist Operations (SO) police officers claimed to have found knives, daggers and iron rods in a gunny bag hidden among the trees at Usfasgandu, minutes before the MDP and Jumhooree Party-led (JP) demonstration started.

Later that night, on a live blog covering the mass protests, police claimed to have found a cardboard box containing four bottles of whiskey and one bottle of vodka on the pavement outside the Islamic Bank at 7pm.

Last night, the police also found six bottles containing petrol hidden in a pickup, a few blocks from an opposition protest.

“It is well known that police do these kinds of things to disperse peaceful gatherings,” Shifaz said.

A police spokesperson said they are conducting a forensic analysis of the weapons discovered at Usfasgandu, and said it was “not possible to say whether there is any link between the protesters and the weapons right now.”

Over 10,000 people attended Friday’s opposition rally. Protesters called for former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and MDP MP Ali Azim’s release. Nasheed and Nazim are in jail until the conclusion of a terrorism trial while Azim was arrested from a protest last week.

Friday’s protest ended unexpectedly at 6pm, but hundreds continued scattered protests in Malé calling for Nasheed’s release.

Gang disruption

At 8:00pm a group of young men barged into the crowd, attacked protesters and journalists and vandalised opposition-aligned Raajje TV’s equipment, cutting off the station’s live feed for 20 minutes. Some of the young men had their faces covered.

Shifaz said the young men were “gangsters” and were working alongside the police to disrupt the protests.

“People in the crowd heard the police saying to the attackers ‘why didn’t you leave before we came.’ This is not hearsay. Both protesters and journalists who covered the event heard this,” he alleged.

Some protesters told Minivan News that police arrested the attackers while others said the police arrested the protesters who had tried to obstruct the attackers.

Speaking to the press on Saturday, Superintendent of Police Hamdhoon Rasheed said the police had observed several people attacking protesters.

“We know that some men went into the crowd and disrupted the protests. We are investigating the matter now,” Hamdhoon said.

The police arrested 28 people from the protest, and 10 have been remanded for 10 days. Former MDP President, Dr Ibrahim Didi, is among the detainees in police custody.

A police spokesperson told Minivan News today that “a number of people who tried to disrupt the protest” are among the ten who were remanded.

Dismissing the opposition’s allegations, the police said: “It does not make sense that people who are assigned to protect the people are also attacking them.”

Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim has also accused the police of planting weapons at his apartment in order to frame him. The police have denounced the former minister’s claims.

The opposition has long accused the government of illicit connections with Malé’s gangs, especially after Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb led a march of 400 young men through the streets of Malé on February 19.

Adeeb has denied the claims, while ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) supporters insist the opposition’s allegations stem from the lack of youth support for the opposition.

MP Ahmed Mahloof, expelled from the PPM last week for speaking out against the government, said he had been receiving threats from gangsters since his dismissal from the party.

“I have been receiving threats from members of gangs for the past three nights after I spoke against President Abdulla Yameen. But I will not step back in fear,” the Galholu North MP tweeted on Friday.

JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim yesterday said many ruling party MPs had communicated their desire to join the opposition, but were scared due to intimidation.

“The most secure platform is that of the people. And we, MDP and JP, now hold that platform. The citizens will protect you,” he said.

Related to this story

February 27 a historic success, claims opposition

10,000 protest in Malé, call for President Yameen’s resignation

Nazim accused of conspiring with Villa group to harm state officials

Hundreds march in support of President Yameen


Two arrested for attempting to smuggle 8 bottles of alcohol into Malé

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has arrested two individuals who were attempting to smuggle eight bottles of alcohol into Malé from Hulhumalé.

A police statement said that both were Bangladeshi nationals who were trying to smuggle the bottles by hiding them under the seat of a motorcycle which was to be transported to Malé via ferry.

Hulhumalé police officers searched their vehicle after they had been observed behaving suspiciously near the ferry terminal. The case is being investigated by the Hulhumalé police station and the MPS drug enforcement department.

The run up to New Year’s eve saw a large amount of alcohol confiscated in the Malé area, with police reporting seven individuals taken into custody in a period of two days at the end of December in Hulhumalé.

Police also confiscated 70 bottles of liquor and 70 cans of beer with a street value of MVR200,000 (US12,970) from Faamudheyrige in Maafannu ward in Malé.


Court postpones delivering verdict in Siyam alcohol possession trial

The Criminal Court has postponed a hearing scheduled today to deliver a verdict in MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Siyam Mohamed’s alcohol smuggling and possession trial, reports local media.

At the last hearing in July, Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed had said the verdict would be delivered at the next trial date. The court has confirmed that a hearing scheduled for today has been cancelled, but did not provide an explanation.

The chief judge had taken over Siyam’s case in May after the MP for Dhaalu Meedhoo requested a change of judge.

In June, two witnesses for the prosecution testified to finding a bottle of alcohol in Siyam’s luggage. Both were customs officers.

The government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader was charged with smuggling and possession of alcohol in November after a liquor bottle was found in his luggage in March 2012.

The bottle was discovered in the tourism tycoon’s bag when it was screened at the airport upon his return from a trip overseas.

The penalty for alcohol possession in the penal code is either a fine of between MVR1,000 to MVR3,000 or imprisonment, banishment or house arrest for up to three years.

Siyam’s MDA formed an alliance with the now-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in August to back PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.

In March 2012, an audio clip of a conversation between Siyam and Yameen was leaked on social media, in which the pair aired grievances against PPM leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.


Commissioner of police submits to drug testing

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed submitted to drug testing by the police professional standards command last week.

According to police media, Waheed was not aware that he would be asked to provide a urine sample when he was “summoned” to the professional standards command on Wednesday night (July 16).

The test “proved that Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed is not a drug user.”

In March 2013, former Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz set up a special department to randomly test police officers for drug and alcohol use.

Riyaz issued an order to conduct drug testing on eight police officers picked at random each month.

Police revealed last week that 167 police officers have been tested so far.

The move followed allegations by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party that riot police officers at the party’s demonstrations following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012 were intoxicated.


All 79 suspects arrested from Anbaraa festival tested positive for drugs, police reveal

All 79 suspects taken into police custody from the island of Anbaraa in Vaavu atoll tested positive for drugs, police have revealed.

Briefing the press today, Chief Inspector Abdulla Satheeh explained that police received intelligence information suggesting that alcohol and drugs were being used and sold at the two-day music festival held on the uninhabited island.

Police raided the island with a court order at midnight on Friday night (April 18), he noted.

The Drug Enforcement Department, Specialist Operations, police intelligence department, and the forensic department conducted the operation, Satheeh said.

Upon searching the island as well as the 198 partygoers, Satheeh said police discovered different types of drugs and more than MVR90,000 (US$5,836) in cash.

In addition to beer cans, the drugs confiscated from the island included pills, LSD stickers, and hash oil joints as well as rubber packets, cellophane packets, and film canisters containing cannabis, Satheeh said.

The drugs, beer cans, and cash were displayed in a video presentation at the press briefing.

While all 198 persons on the island were held and searched, the chief inspector noted that the 79 individuals were arrested after drugs were found either in their possession or at the scene.

Police revealed earlier that the 79 suspects included one female minor, 19 women and 59 men, including one foreign male.

While the remaining 119 were released without charge, Satheeh revealed that none of them were tested for drug use.

Arrangements were not in place to conduct drug tests on the island, he added.

The 79 persons taken into custody were arrested either with drugs in their possession or because police suspected they were under the influence of drugs, Satheeh noted.

Contrary to media reports claiming that a number of people were naked, Satheeh said individuals of both genders were “wearing revealing clothing” when police raided the island.

Asked about the organisers of the festival and lease holder of the uninhabited island, Satheeh said he could not disclose further details as the initial stage of the investigation.


Two men taken into police custody for possession of drugs and alcohol

Police have said today (April 8) that two individuals have been taken into custody for possession of what is suspected of being illicit narcotics, along with alcohol from M. Aathari.

The two locals arrested were a 27 year old and an 18 year old male.

The operation involved the raid of M. Aathari where 3 packets of suspicious substances were found, along with 7 bottles of alcohol, 16 empty bottles, a large amount of money and implements used to partake in illicit narcotics.

The Drug Enforcement Department is investigating the matter further, stated Police.

Yesterday, police revealed that a large cache of alcohol had been seized from a house in Malé the previous day.

A total of 115 bottles and 48 cans of liquor were seized in the raid.


Jabir’s legal team ask court to determine ways jailed MP can campaign

The wife of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir has today submitted a legal issue to the High Court arguing that the recently jailed MP has a right to campaign for next month’s Majlis elections.

Jabir is currently serving a one year jail sentence after being found guilty of declining to provide a urine sample for police to run a drug test.

Speaking to Minivan News today Dhiyana Saeed said that Article 73 of the constitution, which details persons who cannot qualify as Majlis candidates, states that a person serving a jail term of less than 12 months is still qualified.

“If the constitution states that a person serving a jail term less than 12 months will be able to contest in the election then that person should not be suspended from obtaining his electoral rights,’’ she said. “If he is able to contest then he must also be able to campaign.”

Dhiyana – herself a former attorney general and SAARC secretary general – said that the High Court should allow the MP to make phone calls and talk to constituents at a time determined by the court, or he should be allowed to visit a campaign office at a time determined by the court.

Dhiyana noted that when the Elections Act was enacted in 2008, the Jumhooree Party filed a court case claiming that the act’s ruling that prisoners are not able to vote was inconsistent with the constitution.

The High Court subsequently ruled that that article was void and that inmates should have the right to vote.

“So this is the other side of that right, that time it was the right of the persons voting and this time it is the right of the candidate,’’ she said.

Dhiyana revealed that the High Court has said it will decide on accepting the issue and inform her this afternoon.

“If the High Court does not accept this case then we will try filing it with the Civil Court as a civil right issue,’’ she added.

On February 20, 2014, the Criminal Court found Abdulla Jabir guilty of refusing to provide his urine sample to the police to run a drug test, and sentenced him to twelve months under the 2011 Drug Act.

On November 16, 2012, Jabir was arrested along with other high profile MDP members on suspicion that they were in possession and under the influence of alcohol and cannabis from Jabir’s uninhabited island Hondaidhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll.

The prosecutor general pressed three charges against Jabir – one for the charge of declining to provide a urine sample to police,  a second charge for making cannabis transactions, and a third for possession of alcohol.

Last month, the Criminal Court found Jabir guilty of declining to provide urine sample and the MP was taken into custody. Last week, however, the court ruled that the state was not able to prove that Jabir had made any transactions involving cannabis. The alcohol possession case is ongoing.

Jabir’s legal team has claimed the first trial contravened the MP’s constitutional rights as well as the principles of natural justice.

“The number of procedural violations in the whole criminal justice process in regard to this case is highly concerning and we believe that Hon. Abdullah Jabir was denied the fundamental rights that constitutes a free and fair hearing guaranteed to him by Article 42 of the Constitution,” read a press release from Aequitas Legal Consultants last week.

Last month a house in Malé owned by the MP was raided by police, with three men were arrested and drugs and alcohol were seized, though it was reported that Jabir does not live in the building.


Man fined for brewing alcohol

The Criminal Court has handed an MVR1000 (US$64.9) to a Fuvahmulah Island man for brewing alcohol.

The Maldives Police Services arrested Mohamed Saeed on October 1, 2011 on a tip off while he was brewing alcohol in his house with another individual. The police discovered utensils used for alcohol brewing and a 500 ml bottle containing alcohol.

Saeed has been ordered to pay the fine within 7 days – by February 16.

According to the police, Saeed has a record of drug abuse, theft, mugging, and sexual harassment.