May Day protester pleads guilty to assaulting police officer

A suspect on trial for assaulting a police officer during a mass anti-government protest on May 1 has pleaded guilty to assault charges today.

At the first hearing of the trial today, Mohamed Shinan, from the Malaaz house in Shaviyani Goidhoo, reportedly admitted kicking the Specialist Operation (SO) police officer twice. Shinan noted that he had confessed to the crime during the police interrogation.

Shinan also asked for leniency in his detention when chief judge Abdulla Mohamed asked the defendant if he had anything to add.

Scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes on the night of May 1. Video footage shows protesters tripping and kicking the SO officer and one man hitting the policeman over the head with his baton.

Sergeant Abdul Rahman Hussain was flown to Sri Lanka for medical treatment after the assault while the police publicised video footage of the incident and appealed for public assistance in locating suspects.

The prosecutor general’s office has charged 13 people over the incident. The other defendants have been given time to appoint lawyers.

The assault charge carries a jail sentence of between three to five years.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party had meanwhile accused police of torturing and threatening to kill three suspects arrested for assaulting the police officer.


Trial begins for eight suspects accused of assaulting police officer

The trial of eight suspects accused of assaulting a police officer during a mass anti-government protest on May 1 began today.

Scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes on the night of May 1. Video footage shows protesters tripping and kicking a Specialist Operations (SO) officer and one man hitting the policeman over the head with his baton.

The seven male suspects and one female suspect were charged with assault. At the first hearing of the trial at the criminal court today, the presiding judge reportedly gave the defendants three days to appoint lawyers.

Sergeant Abdul Rahman Hussain had been flown to Sri Lanka for medical treatment after the assault while the police publicised video footage of the incident and appealed for public assistance in locating suspects.

The police forwarded cases against 15 suspects for prosecution in late May.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party had meanwhile accused police of torturing and threatening to kill three suspects arrested for assaulting the police officer.


Police searching for assault suspect

The police have appealed for assistance from the public in locating a man suspected of assaulting a shopkeeper around 11:30am on Tuesday.

An eyewitness at the shop in the Maafanu ward of Malé told newspaper Haveeru that a foreigner assaulted the elderly shopkeeper after the latter refused to give out MVR80 worth of purchases on credit.

The foreigner grabbed a knife on the counter and stabbed the shopkeeper. The victim was stabbed eight times and taken to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) for treatment. He reportedly did not sustain serious injuries.

The police have meanwhile posted CCTV footage of the suspect and urged anyone with information about the suspect to call the police hotline number 3322111 or the organised crime department at 9911099.


Criminal court slammed over MVR200 fine for man who assaulted wife

The criminal court today fined a man MVR200 (US$13) for physically assaulting his wife and shoving her onto the deck of a fishing boat in January.

Luthfee Umar from Laamu Isdhoo was found guilty of assault based on his confession and the medico-legal record of his wife, which stated that her lips were torn.

Local media reported at the time that Luthfee was thrown into the sea near the fish market in Malé by angry bystanders and was not allowed to climb out until the police arrived at the scene.

The current penal code enacted in 1966 carries a penalty of either six months in prison, six months of house arrest, or a fine of MVR200 for assault.

However, the new penal code – due to come into force in July – has a penalty of a maximum of four years for assault depending on the severity of the case.

The new penal code was due to come into force in April, but the pro-government majority in parliament delayed its enforcement to July citing lack of public awareness and concerns of religious scholars.

Today’s sentence has sparked outrage on social media, with one user observing that the fine is smaller than that of a parking ticket.

The sentence was passed by criminal court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed, who has previously been accused of misogyny. In 2005, then-attorney general Hassan Saeed sent a letter to then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom outlining several allegations against the judge.

After completing the sentencing of a defendant in June 2005, Abdulla Mohamed allegedly said: “Very few men ever meet women who love them. You may meet a woman who loves and cares for you. You should not run after a woman who does not love you. It is also stated in Holy Quran that women are very deceptive.”

Speaking to Minivan News today, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Rozaina Adam said such sentences “encourage similar abuses instead of acting as a deterrent.”

“We get a hefty MVR750 (US$ 49) just as a parking violation fine. With this sentence, beating a woman means less than a parking ticket,” said Rozaina.

Rozaina said that under the Domestic Violence Act, the police have the responsibility to explain the rights of the victim, such as getting a protection order, which has to be issued immediately.

She also criticised the ruling party for its decision to delay the penal code: “Delaying the penal code was a huge obstruction to justice.”

“The current penal code is severely outdated. 200 rufiyaa was a big figure then. But now it is very little,” said Rozaina.

Photo from social media.


20-year-old male arrested in Mafaz murder

A 20-year-old man has been arrested over the brutal murder of Masodi gang member Ahmed Mafaz on December 7.

According to the Maldives Police Services, the man was arrested from Henveiru Bluebird in Malé under a court warrant at 3:35pm on December 9. The police also confiscated several items from the house.

Local media have identified the man to be Mohamed Midhath. He is the only individual arrested over the murder.

Mafaz, also known as ‘Masodi Mafa’, was stabbed to death at approximately 1:45am near the Alora furniture shop in Malé on December 7.

According to eyewitness reports, two men stabbed and beat up Mafaz while another group of men wielding machetes and other sharp weapons vandalised a building belonging to the Masodi gang and threatened to kill everyone inside.

The police said Mafaz died at ADK hospital while being given emergency treatment for numerous stab wounds, including fatal cuts in his neck and shoulders.

The stabbing was reported to the police at 1:45pm. Police took Mafaz to the hospital after stopping a taxi on the street.

The police on Tuesday also arrested a 16-year-old male over the fatal stabbing of 19-year-old Mohamed Aseel on August 23 and a further three men over gang violence near Billabong International School on November 16.

Aseel and two men, aged 20 and 13 years, were attacked near Iskandhar School in the Machangolhi ward of Malé.

Eyewitnesses said a group of masked men stabbed the two men in the back and struck the minor on the head before fleeing on motorbikes.

Aseel died on August 29 at the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Doctors reportedly amputated his right leg in an attempt to save his life. He was stabbed six times. The other two did not suffer critical injuries.

The police had previously arrested six men and a minor over the stabbing. All remain in police custody.

The November 16 incident saw a group of men wielding machetes enter Billabong International High School following violence in front of the school. An 18-year-old was arrested from the scene.

Three men were arrested in relation to this incident at 4pm on Tuesday (December 9). They were caught hiding in a house called Aabaaru on Villimalé. They are Shaiban Zufrath, 18 years, of Malé Rosendale, Ulyan Ahmed, 19 years, of Dhambufashuvige of Gaaf Dhaal Gahdhoo Island, and Fassan Waleed, 19 years of Fahudhawadhee in Gaaf Alif Dhaandhoo Island.

Mafaz’s death marks the fifth murder this year.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has submitted amendments to the law prohibiting possession of dangerous weapons – a move which some civil society groups say violates constitutional rights such as the right to remain silent and to retain legal counsel.

The amendment bill states that suspects arrested for assault with sharp objects or dangerous weapons will not be able to exercise the right to remain silent “to any extent”.

Police could also question the suspect if he or she is either unable to have an attorney present within six hours, or waives the right to retain legal counsel.

Moreover, the suspect could only consult a lawyer in the presence of a police officer for the first 96 hours after the arrest.

A joint statement by Maldivian Democracy Network and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative urged the parliament to withhold from passing the amendments saying that it would “absolutely violate rather than limit fundamental rights of the people”.

Police media yesterday reported that a number of swords were discovered hidden under a car in the Henveiru ward of the capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Head of Central Operations Command Ismail Naveen stated that the police have been working to curb the assaults in Malé by carrying out searches of suspicious individuals and inspecting suspicious locations.

Related to this story

28-year-old man stabbed to death in gang-related violence

Gang assault with machete in Billabong high school

MPs debate restricting constitutional rights after arrest

Yameen pledges to end violent crime at ‘Successful 365 Days’ rally


Two detention officers seriously injured after attacks at Maafushi Prison

Two Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) detention officers have been seriously injured after they were assaulted by Maafushi Prison inmates while trying to conduct a routine head count last night (December 1).

Ministry of Home affairs spokesperson Thazmeel Abdul Samad told Minivan News that the officers have been brought to the capital and are being treated for head injuries.

“An officer went in to unit 3 at 10pm to conduct a routine head count and requested assistance after the inmates refused to cooperate, four officers went into the unit to assist him and then they were attacked by the inmates,” explained Thazmeel.

All four officers suffered head injuries with one officer getting bruised on the arm.

Maafushi Prison has been at the centre of a number of incidents this year, including escaped prisoners and deadly assaults on an inmate.

The head count was one of six conducted throughout the day and night, part of recently altered security measures following the escape of two dangerous convicts in October, who had broken through a ventilation shaft and left dummies in their beds to deceive the guards.

“The new security measures state that the detention officers have to enter the cells and check the identity of the inmates even if they are sleeping,” said Thazmeel.

While speaking about the escaped convicts, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer accepted that there were loopholes in the prison system, that the necessary changes to the procedure have been identified and that they would now be implemented.

“There is no prison in the world from which someone or the other has not escaped from. The strength of a prison system is in how quickly we recapture escapees and return them to their cells,” said Naseer in an interview to Television Maldives.

The escapees in question were Ibrahim Shahum Adam and Fariyash Ahmed – both serving life sentences for separate murder incidents – were soon recaptured in the capital Malé.

While speaking at a ceremony in Maafushi Naseer said he would use a dog squad periodically in preventing the entry of illicit drugs into Maafushi Jail.

In addition to the 20-foot wall, surveillance cameras, increased lighting and automatic locks will be used to strengthen security at the jail, he added.

Last month, correctional services seized large amounts of illegal contraband from jails under its custody, including Maafushi. MCS confiscated 32 phone chargers, 33 SIM cards, and 200 packets of illicit narcotics from the high security facility.

Speaking at a press briefing on November 2, Superintendent of Prisons Mohamed Asif said MCS has been “continuously searching” jails for contraband as part of wider efforts to improve security.

Earlier this year, Maafushi inmate Ibrahim Azar died from serious head injuries he suffered following an attack by two of his cell mates.

A one page MCS report to the Parliament’s oversight committee stated that Azar had requested a transfer to another cell shortly before he was fatally assaulted.

Related to this story

Hospitalised Maafushi inmate requested transfer from cell before assault

Drugs, mobile phones seized from jail

Manhunt underway for escaped convicts

Escaped convicts were on hunt for murder, theft deal, says home minister


Man assaulted in Malé

A young man was assaulted with an iron rod in the Galolhu ward of Malé around 9:15pm last night (November 16), reports local media.

According to eyewitnesses, the victim was assaulted by a group in the Karaa goalhi. He was taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital for treatment to his injuries.

Earlier in the day, an 18-year-old man was arrested after entering the Bilabong International High School with a machete during a gang fight.


Vnews editor arrested for assault gets fired

Vnews editor, ‘Mundu’ Adam Haleem has been terminated from his post after police arrested him for assaulting a female colleague, local media reports.

A statement released by Vmedia said that Haleem was dismissed from work after a thorough investigation which proved that the assault had occurred due to personal reasons.

CCTV footage of the assault surfaced on social media showed Haleem grab and shove the female employee before being restrained by others at the scene.

The female employee reportedly sought treatment at ADK hospital for minor injuries.


V News editor arrested for assault

V News Editor ‘Mundu’ Adam Haleem has been arrested on Tuesday night on charges of assaulting a female colleague.

The outlet has placed Haleem on suspension in connection to the incident, local media reports, after CCTV footage showing a man fitting Haleem’s description shoving a female colleague onto a staircase was circulated on social media.

The footage showed another male figure intervening to stop Haleem from further assaulting his colleague before pulling him into a nearby room.

Police stated that Haleem was arrested under a court order at around 11.30pm on Tuesday night (November 11), declining to comment further on the ongoing investigation.