Police confirm charges against Yameen and Gasim include bribery, treason

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has revealed that charges against People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen and Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim include treason and bribery.

The court ruled just before midnight on Wednesday that both MPs would be confined to house arrest for three days while the investigation continues, and would be free to attend any parliamentary meetings.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the case was being heard this evening, and confirmed the charge sheet included bribery and “attempting to topple the government illegally.”

This afternoon police appealed in the High Court against a warrant issued by the criminal court shortly after midnight on Tuesday evening, requiring that Yameen and Gasim be brought to court in one hour.

Yameen’s legal team, led former attorney general Azima Shukoor, filed in the criminal court to determine on what grounds Yameen was arrested.

The prosecution claimed the court warrant issued by the criminal court was unlawful and against judicial procedure.

”Maldives Police Services understand that the court warrant which ordered police to summon Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was against the law,” the prosecution stated. ”The criminal court unlawfully ordered police to summon Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.”

She said that there was no law forbidding police from arresting Yameen as there were criminal charges against him.

”Everyone is equal in front of the law,” the prosecution stated. “The court order does not mention that the police abused any of the rights on arrest guaranteed by the constitution.”

She said the time limit on the court warrant was also an issue.

The Chief Judge queried the prosecution lawyer as to whether there was a law specifying a time limit to conduct trials.

”Arrests made abruptly should be brought before judges between 7:30pm to 9:30pm on working days and from 4pm to 9:30pm on other days,” she replied.

Yameen’s defence lawyer Azima Shukoor, said police had no reasonable grounds on which to arrest Yameen.

”Yameen was not told what charges he was being arrested for at the time of  him arrest,” Shukoor said, noting that this was a legal right as guaranteed by article number 48(a) of the Constitution.

The article states that everyone has the right on arrest or detention to (a) be informed immediately of the reasons therefore, and in writing within at least twenty four hours.

”He was arrested at 6:30pm and at 9:45pm he knew the cause of his arrest – that is three hours after he was arrested.” she said.

Azmia said that the Maldives Police Service entered Yameen’s house without his permission, and claimed this violated article 47(b) of the constitution, which states that ‘residential property shall be inviolable, and shall not be entered without the consent of the resident, except to prevent immediate and serious harm to life or property, or under the express authorisation of an order of the Court.’

Addressing the High Court, Yameen explained how he was arrested.

”Police officers came to my house at around 630pm, I do not remember the exact time, and they said they had something to tell me,” Yameen recounted. ”They ordered me to go to the police station immediately.”

Yameen said he asked the police officers whether they had a court warrant and why he was being arrested.

”They said that when I arrived at the police station I would know why,” Yameen said. ”I asked whether they had a document from the Maldives Police Service (MPS), and they did not have that.”

Yameen said he then refused to accompany the officers.

”A police star force squad came and cruelly and without any respect tried to take me [forcibly],” he said. ”I then said I would go.”

Yameen said he asked the police officers to show him a court warrant authorising his arrest.

”They replied that I did not have that opportunity,” he said. ”I said I would go in my own vehicle, and they replied that I did not have that opportunity also.”

Yameen said when the police vehicle went near the police headquaters, they pretended to wait and then drove at high speed.

”I asked them what they were doing,” he said. ”They replied that they were taking me to Dhoonidhoo [police custodial], and said they also had a police station there.”

Gasim’s hearing followed Yameen’s. The MP was defended by Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) leader Dr Hassan Saeed, who also claimed that Gasim was arrested unlawfully.

The High Court will rule on the case tomorrow.