High Court supports lower court decision to continue Alhan’s lawsuit against MDP

The High Court has today ruled that the Civil Court does have the jurisdiction to preside over a lawsuit filed by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy against his party.

Feydhoo MP Alhan is seeking the annulment of the opposition party’s primary for the Feydhoo constituency in Addu City.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Alhan said there were two cases related to the lawsuit filed at the Civil Court being reviewed in the High Court, and that the court had today concluded one case while he had withdrawn the other.

The case concluded today was the appeal by the MDP claiming that the Civil Court could not proceed because Alhan had not completed all the internal party procedures, such as appealing at the party’s appeal committee.

”During the hearings held in the Civil Court, I requested the court to issue a warrant to temporarily invalidate the candidacy of the person who won the MDP primary and the court said that it did not have the jurisdiction to do so and that the High Court will have the jurisdiction to issue such an injunction,’’ Alhan said.

“So I filed a case with the High Court on March 6 and 11 days later the court held a hearing and I told the court that now it was too late to issue the injunction and that I wished to withdraw the case.’’

Alhan said that the case going on in the Civil Court has almost reached an end and that during the next hearing the court would deliver a verdict.

Shortly after announcing his decision to contest the primary result, Alhan was stabbed in Malé while at the Breakwater cafe in the artificial beach area. During the attack, Alhan received stab wounds to the back and was quickly flown to Sri Lanka for spinal surgery.

When Minivan News inquired about his condition he said that his left leg was still paralysed and that he now has to use a walking stick.

“Doctors say it will take six or seven months to recover, I have been doing physiotherapy,’’ he said.

Alhan has had a chequered recent past with the MDP, rejoining the party in June last year after an apparently acrimonious departure in April of the previous year.

Then party vice president, Alhan was ejected – alongside then party President Dr Ibrahim Didi – after the pair publicly questioned the party’s official interpretation of the February 7 ousting of President Mohamed Nasheed.

The Feydhoo MP subsequently organised a rally – sparsely attended – calling for the freeing of the MDP from its talismanic leader Nasheed. Alhan’s soon joined the government-aligned Jumhooree Party,

Alhan was initially elected to parliament on a Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) ticket, making him one of the few MPs to have been a member of almost every major political party represented in parliament, barring the DRP’s splinter party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

He was dismissed from the DRP in 2010 for breaking the party’s whip line in a no-confidence vote against then Foreign Minister, Dr Ahmed Shaheed


Majlis committee to summon police for clarification on Alhan stabbing case

Parliament’s privileges committee has decided to summon police officers next Sunday to clarify details of how the investigation into the attack on Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy is proceeding.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy, who submitted the case to the committee, described the incident as a murder attempt.

Alhan was stabbed in Malé on February 1 while at the Breakwater cafe in the artificial beach area.

“It is a concern to the whole parliament,’’ Inthi said. “It undermined the privilege of all the MPs, that’s why I sent a letter to the committee.’’

He said that a meeting was held regarding the case, and the committee had decided to ask police to send officers who could provide details of the investigation.

Inthi noted that the police were not sharing information with the public as they did during the investigation into the October 2012 murder of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

“So under the right to information we need to clarify this information,’’ he said, adding that the meeting with the police had been scheduled for 1:30pm on Sunday February 16.

Similarly, a source within Alhan’s family – speaking to Minivan News on condition of anonymity – said that police had not been cooperative thus far.

“Twelve days have passed now and we have tried many different ways to get information on the investigation,’’ he said, adding that he was sure the arrested persons were the assailants.

The Criminal Court yesterday extended the detention period to fifteen days for the two suspects arrested in the case. A third suspect was arrested, but was released soon after.

The family member said today that there was now a small movement in his leg, though doctors were unsure how long it will for him to fully recover.

During the attack, Alhan received stab wounds to the back and was quickly flown to Sri Lanka for spinal surgery.

“He still cannot sit, stand or walk and can’t talk a lot because he does not have energy,’’ said the family member. “We are still discussing sending him to Singapore and we also sent the surgery report to the doctors in Singapore where they have said it was done well and there were no issues.’’

The attack was politically motivated and well organised, stated the source, who noted that Alhan’s car had been followed three days prior to the incident.

MPs condemning the attack earlier this month suggested it may have been carried out by powerful local gangs working on the orders of political paymasters.

The source said that Alhan might not be able to be actively involved in his campaign for re-election in the Feydhoo constituency, where he intends to run as an independent after losing what he claims was an unfair party primary.

Though the MP’s family were critical of the MDP’s decision not to repeat the primary vote, local media were told this week that Alhan would continue to promote the MDP’s policy and ideology if re-elected.


Chinese expatriate attacked on Raa Dhuvaafaru

Police have said that last Monday (9 December) a Chinese national living on the island of Dhuvaafaru in Raa Atoll was attacked by a group of people.

Police said two persons aged 18 and 22, along with a minor, were arrested in connection with the attack.

According to the police, the Chinese national was admitted to Dhuvaafaru Health Centre and has now been released after treatment.

Police said that three persons were arrested the same night at about 9pm.

The three suspects were taken to the Dhuvaafaru Magistrate Court, and their detention period has been extended to five days for investigation.

Dhuvaafaru police station is investigating the case, police added.


MNDF deny reports of injured suspect in Raajje TV arson attack being treated at military hospital

The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has issued a statement denying reports spreading across social media that a suspect injured in the arson attack on opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) aligned TV station Raajje TV was being treated at the MNDF military hospital.

On October 7, a group of masked men armed with machetes, iron rods and petrol stabbed a security guard, forced open a reinforced door and set fire to the station, destroying its offices and control room as well as cameras, computer systems, broadcasting and transmission equipment.

CCTV footage of the attack showed the masked individual lighting the blaze briefly engulfed in flame, shortly before a fireball blew the door off its hinges.

The MNDF statement said the military hospital treated three firemen who were injured while trying to control the blaze.

”Two of the firemen were treated for burn injuries they received to the skin area near their ear, due to strong heat from the fire,” the MNDF statement said. ”The third fireman was treated for the injuries he received from the strong heat and smoke.”

The MNDF said the third fireman was admitted to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) after he had breathing problems.

The MNDF also said it was very uncivilised to spread such news without clarification. The statement did not state to whom it was referring to.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the arson attack and criticised the Maldives Police Services’ failure to defend the station despite repeated requests for police protection.

“This criminal act is a direct blow to freedom of information and we deplore the attitude of the police, who failed to do what was necessary to prevent the attack although the head of TV station requested protection a few hours before it took place,” RSF said in a statement on Monday.

Meanwhile, Raajje TV quoted former president Mohamed Nasheed as alleging that Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb “had a hand” in the arson attack on the station, and called on investigation authorities to obtain a court warrant to gain access to the former’s text messages and phone calls.

Adheeb dismissed the allegations as false.

”I won’t be surprised even if he made bigger allegations,” he said. ”Nasheed is always lying like that.”

Adheeb accused Nasheed of working against him due to his condemnation of the MDP’s calls for a tourism boycott.

Eyewitness to Monday’s attack told Minivan News that the attackers arrived on motorbikes.

”First one motorbike with two persons came, they were covering their faces with masks and one of them were holding an iron bar. We first thought they were getting ready to attack a person but the guy holding the iron bar smashed the glass of the building and the other bikes arrived just as the guy smashed the glass,” said a witness.

”There were three wave motorbikes and one PCX motorbike. The other guys were wearing masks when they arrived, they looked very calm when they entered the place and we did not see what happened inside but we noticed that they were in a rush when they came out of the building,” he said. ”They all left the area on the bikes really fast.”

According to the eyewitness, he saw the bikes coming out to Boduthakurufaanu Magu from Kurangi Goalhi and when they left they went straight towards Henveiru from Boduthakurufaanu Magu.

Speaking at the parliament’s government oversight committee, Raajje TV CEO Akram Kamaluddeen alleged to MPs that the arson attack on Raajje TV was a state organised crime.

Akram Kamaluddeen and Deputy CEO of Raajje TV Abdulla Yameen did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

The security guard who was taken hostage and stabbed told local press that the assailants arrived 10 minutes after the staff of Raajje TV had left the station.

The Bangladeshi national guard told the papers that he was inside the building when the assailants came and they asked him to lead them to the floor Raajje TV was on, but when he refused they tied his hand and took him upstairs with them.

He told the papers that he was stabbed and attacked inside the control room of the Raajje TV station, and that after attacking him they left him inside the burning building with his hands tied.

According to the security guard he was able to escape because the group left the door open. He said he came outside and called his supervisor, before fainting and being admitted to IGMH.

CCTV footage of the attack:


Police officer attacked by a group in Male

Police have said that an officer was attacked last night at about 12:15am by a group of people.

According to police, the group attacked the officer while he was on duty walking near FDI photo studio on Fareedhee Magu.

Police said the officer was injured and his phone was also damaged in the incident.

The police are now looking for suspects involved in the case.

Local media also reported an officer being struck by a motorcyclist on Lonuziyaarai Magu.


Two men charged with attack on Raajje TV reporter

Police have pressed charges against two suspects allegedly involved in the attack on Raajje TV Reporter Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed.

Ahmed Vishaan, 22, of Kerin Light in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood and Hassan Raihaan, 19, of Fehimaa in Male’s Galolhu neighborhood have been “accused of assault in a manner that can cause serious injuries,” Criminal Court Media Official Mohamed Manik told local media yesterday (May 22).

Vishaan was  been accused of hitting Aswad with a three foot iron rod in the face and head, while the journalist was on his motorcycle the night February 23, 2013 at around 1:18 am, said Manik.

Raihaan has been accused of “helping Vishaan flee the scene” via motorcycle after the attack on Aswad, he added.

Aswad, a senior reporter for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-aligned television station, was attacked with an iron bar while riding on a motorcycle near the  artificial beach area.

He was attacked while he was on his way to see two Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists, who were admitted to hospital after being attacked during opposition-led protests.

Following the attack, Aswad was airlifted to Sri Lanka for emergency surgery. He later recovered and returned to the Maldives, telling local media he was very happy to return to the Maldives and would remain undeterred in his role as a journalist.

The attack on Aswad is one of the most serious assaults on a Maldivian journalist since blogger Hilath Rasheed had his throat slashed in an alleyway in mid-2012.

Rasheed was initially given a five percent chance of survival, but later recovered. He has since fled the country.

Press freedom

The Maldives plummeted to 103rd in the most recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index, a fall of 30 places and a return to pre-2008 levels.

“The events that led to the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed in February led to violence and threats against journalists in state television and private media outlets regarded as pro-Nasheed by the coup leaders,” RSF observed, in its annual ranking of 179 countries.

“Attacks on press freedom have increased since then. Many journalists have been arrested, assaulted and threatened during anti-government protests. On June 5, the freelance journalist and blogger Ismail “Hilath” Rasheed narrowly survived the first attempted murder of a journalist in the archipelago,” RSF noted in its report.


Police confirm fourth stabbing incident in Male’ within 48 hours

The Maldives Police Service has confirmed that a man has been stabbed by a sharp object in Male’ this evening, the fourth such attack to have occurred during the last 48 hours.

However, authorities have said it remains too early to tell if the incidents may be linked.

A police spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News today that a male had been taken to ADK Hospital on Sosun Magu for treatment following the stabbing attack, but did not have further details on the victim or his condition at time of press.

According to local media, the victim was alleged to have been attacked with a “sharp object” by a group of attackers at about 6:20pm this evening.

Sun Online has reported that the victim fled into an electronics store in Male’, where he tried to shelter from his attackers. The attack was reported to have occurred in the store.

Police have said investigations are continuing, though no suspects had so far been identified in regards to today’s attack.

The attack marks the fourth stabbing incident to occur in Male’ within 48 hours, resulting a total of five people injured as police continue to search for suspects.

Two young men, 18 and 21 years-old, were stabbed near Azmi-Naeem Medical & Diagnostic Centre (AMDC) in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood at approximately 3:30pm yesterday (May 18) afternoon, a police media official told Minivan News at the time.

Meanwhile, two young men were also injured in separate stabbing incidents in Male’ on Friday (May 17).

The first stabbing took place near Star Cinema in Male’s Maafanu neighbourhood and was reported to police around 6:30pm. The 20 year-old victim suffered stab wounds to his chest and back, according to local media.

The second attack was reported to police at 7:00pm and occurred near Petrel cafe in Male’s Machangolhi neighbourhood. The victim, also a 20 year-old man, was stabbed in the back.

Since the start of 2013, 506 incidents of assault have been reported to police, with 51 cases having occurred so far this May.


Indian teacher attacked in Maldives requires visa renewal before travelling home for treatment

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has said an expatriate teacher hospitalised after being attacked on the island of Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll is waiting on education authorities to renew his visa before he can return to India for treatment.

Physics teacher Neelakantan Pappukutty Subash Kumar, who was attacked on May 14 over allegations he hit a student in the chest, had still been working for the Ministry of Education despite his work visa having expired the previous month.  The teacher is not thought to be in a critical condition, according to diplomatic sources.

Kumundhoo Island Councilor Ali Anwar claimed Wednesday (May 15) that islanders had destroyed a a power distribution unit outside the school to cut off its electricity, before then entering and attacking the teacher, despite efforts by staff to try and prevent the assault.

“Yesterday afternoon the expat teacher hit a 13 year-old student in the chest and the child fell and couldn’t breathe and was taken to the health centre,” Anwar said. “The islanders became angry at the teacher and gathered outside the school. The security guard and school staff were unable to control them.”


The Maldives Police Service (MPS) confirmed today that five people had now been arrested in connection to the attack on the teacher, with investigations ongoing into the matter. A police spokesperson said the teacher had since been transferred to Male’ following the attack, although the MPS had no further details about his status at time of press.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission told Minivan News today that although the expatriate teacher’s condition was not believed to be critical, efforts to return him to India for additional treatment had been impeded as a result of education authorities failing to renew his visa on time.

“His visa expired in April and is not yet renewed. The Education Ministry will send him back as soon as his visa is renewed,” the commission confirmed.

Education Minister Dr Asim Ahmed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

An Indian diplomatic source said that it was likely Maldives authorities would have sent the expatriate back to India immediately had he been in a critical condition.

However, the same source claimed the teacher’s treatment continued to highlight ongoing concerns raised by the High Commission over the Maldives’ treatment of foreign workers, notably the retention of passports and travel documents by private and state employers.

“The fact remains that his work permit has not been renewed. He was a government employee –  they should have renewed his documents before they expired, not afterwards,” the diplomatic source said.  “This [issue] has been going on for over one and a half years now.”

A senior Indian medical with experience of working in the country previously alleged that expatriate professionals were regularly facing intimidation and fraud in the country from employers and some members of the public.


The Maldives’ relationship with India has appeared strained since President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s government took the decision last November to evict Indian infrastructure giant GMR from the country with seven days notice.

The US$511 concession agreement to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport was declared ‘void from the start’.  However, the government’s sudden eviction of the Indian investor did not however appear on a list of 11 grievances handed to all senior Maldivian reporters by the Indian High Commission this January.

The list of Consular issues affecting the India-Maldives relationship included a number of concerns: discrimination against Indian expatriates, the keeping of passports of Indian nationals by employers, exploitation of Indian workers and repatriation of mortal remains.

Threats towards the country’s diplomats, a disparity in visa charges between the two countries and the repatriation of salaries were also raised as issues.  The list’s release was followed by the Indian High Commission issuing a statement in early February slamming local media in the Maldives for “misrepresentation and twisting of issues”.

“The High Commission has noted a recent trend in a section of local media to publish negative, unsubstantiated reports, while blacking out objective and positive news on Indian issues,” the commission said at the time.

Despite admitting that every country has high and lows in their bilateral relations with neighbours, the new Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare last month emphasised what he called the country’s “unshakable” long-standing relationship with the Maldives.

“During my tenure, I will endeavour to further strengthen the relationship between India and the Maldives, which is already very strong with an unshakable foundation,” he said on April 10, shortly after his appointment.


Three stabbing incidents in Male’ within 24 hours

The third stabbing incident to occur in Male’ within 24 hours has left a total of four people injured and police searching for suspects.

Two young men, 18 and 21 years-old, were stabbed near Azmi-Naeem Medical & Diagnostic Centre (AMDC) in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood at approximately 3:30pm this afternoon (May 18), a police media official told Minivan News.

Police are currently looking into the incident, but verified that the victims have been taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) for medical treatment. One of the stabbing victims was originally taken to ADK Hospital, but was subsequently moved to IGMH for further treatment, according to police.

An eyewitness to the incident told local media outlet CNM that two young men were stabbed in the stomach near the clinic and were subsequently taken to the hospital by a pickup truck passing by.

Yesterday evening (May 17) two young men were also injured in separate stabbing incidents in Male’.

The first stabbing took place near Star Cinema in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood and was reported to police around 6:30pm. The 20 year-old victim suffered stab wounds to his chest and back, according to local media.

The second attack was reported to police at 7:00pm and occurred near Petrel cafe in Male’s Machangolhi neighbourhood. The victim, also a 20 year-old man, was stabbed in the back.

Both Friday evening’s stabbing victims were brought to IGMH for treatment.

One of last night’s stabbing victims has since been treated and released, while the other victim underwent surgery and is now in stable condition, IGMH Media Coordinator Zeenath Ali confirmed with Minivan News today (May 18).

The three cases are currently under investigation, and while there have been no arrests made at this time, the police are searching for the suspects allegedly involved in the stabbings, a police media official told Minivan News.

The police were unable to reveal whether the three stabbing incidents were related.

Since the start of 2013, 506 incidents of assault have been reported to police, with 51 cases having occurred so far this May.