MPs and Police respond to intel chiefs’ Nasheed assassination attempt allegations

Former Head of Intelligence Chief Superintendent ‘MC’ Mohamed Hameed has stated in his January 9 testimony to the parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee that the police intelligence department received information about two separate assassination plans against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Hameed further alleged that MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem had stored a “poisonous chemical” in his company warehouse in 2011 and that the intelligence department learned of plans to use this deadly chemical to assassinate the then president.

Speaking in the same committee, former military intelligence head Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam also claimed to have received information about an assassination attempt planned to have been carried out during an MNDF live-fire event.

Former Minister of Human Rights of the current administration Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has also spoken in December 2012 of assassination plans made against Nasheed by politicians she had then referred to as X and Y. She has since revealed X to be Deputy Speaker of Parliament People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim and Y to be independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the public release of these allegations, MP Nasheed, MP Saleem and the police institution have responded denying the allegations.

Not involved in any assassination plans: MP Nasheed

Independent MP Nasheed has published an article on his personal blog denying involvement in any assassination plans.

Nasheed wrote that he had never spoken with former Gender Minister Dhiyana of any plans to assassinate Nasheed.

Questioning whether Dhiyana had indeed stated that MP Nasheed had spoken to her of involvement in orchestrating a coup d’etat to topple the former administration, he denied having ever brought up such a subject with her. He furthermore stated that he did not believe Dhiyana would have made such a statement.

Dhiyana’s account, released as a booklet titled “Silent Enquiry: A Personal Memoir on the issue of the Transfer of Powers on the 7th of February 2012” does not accuse person “Y”, later identified as MP Nasheed, of having partaken in assassination plans.

It however stated that through conversation with MP Nasheed she had learnt that he had pledged support to then Vice President, current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, while he had refused the offer of the post of Vice President “should Waheed ascend to power in the coming week.”

“A week before the now disputed resignation of President Nasheed, his Vice President had invited ‘Y’ to his residence for dinner. After dinner, when he was about to leave, when he was bending over to put on his shoes, the Vice President had bent over and whispered into his ears that things would be difficult in the coming week and whether ‘Y’ would help him. ‘Y’, not suspecting that anything out of the ordinary would happen in the coming week had assured the Vice President that he would indeed help him,” Dhiyana wrote.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim has so far not responded publicly to the allegations made against him.

Will take the matter to court: MP Saleem

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem released a statement on Monday claiming the public release of statements given by intelligence chiefs of police and the defence forces had caused losses worth millions to businesses in which he holds a stake.

In response to the allegations of his involvement in an assassination plan against Nasheed, Saleem stated that he intends to take legal action against a number of persons he perceives as being responsible for the loss caused to him.

Saleem stated that the parliament, MDP and individual persons were included in the entities against whom he would be filing cases in the Civil Court. He furthermore states his intention to lodge a complaint with police asking them to look into the “criminal activity of the committing of unlawful activities to destroy [his] business.”

Saleem denied ever having involvement in any plans to take the life of any person.

No records of assassination plans found: PC Riyaz

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz was reported in local media as saying that there were no records of investigations having been undertaken into any suspected assassination attempts against Nasheed.

Riyaz stated that police had looked into the matter after the former police intelligence head gave his testimony to the parliament.

“We found no records of such an assassination attempt, and no indication that any investigation had been carried out on the matter. As a norm, if such serious intelligence information had been received, an investigation would definitely be undertaken,” Riyaz is reported to have said.

Riyaz further stated that the police had now been instructed to look into the matter further and to determine why no official records had been lodged if such critical information had indeed been uncovered by the police.


Declined foreign intervention on February 7: former President Nasheed

“There is no government worth maintaining at the cost of the death of any citizens,” former President Nasheed told supporters at a rally on Saturday night, explaining that he had rejected offers made by foreign allies to intervene during the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

Speaking at a rally of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the party’s presidential candidate Nasheed stated, “We are hearing many versions of what brought about my resignation on February 7. I am certain that the huge number of citizens who were watching that days events on TV would know very well that the events that unfolded then were unlawful. The question that remains in our minds is, what caused these events to unfold as they did?”

Nasheed said the country’s parliament, although it had existed for over 70 years, had only begun functioning in the active manner presently seen following the killing of Evan Naseem, a 19 year-old who was tortured and killed in prison on September 19, 2003.

“On that day, we can see how violence was utilised just to hold on to power. After the shootings in the Maafushi jail. After shooting at civilians and killing many unarmed people. After staining the sand of Maldives with the blood of the sons of Maldives,” Nasheed continued, “I, for one, certainly would never support clinging to power at the cost of violence against our people.”

He alleged that if the commanding officers in the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) who were on the scene on February 7, 2012 had made a genuine effort to control the mutineering police and army officials, they would have succeeded.

“After things escalated to the worst levels, some among the soldiers requested access to the armory. I realized it would come to that, and that it was a decision I would need to make,” he said.

Nasheed, who had denied authorising access to the armory on that day, continued, “Maintaining power through violent measures is not something we would ever do. This party, from upon formation, always promotes human rights of our citizens and stands against violence.”

“Many friendly states did offer to make an intervention on February 7. Some even said they could make interventions without the use of any weapons. However, I believe that what we have at hand is a Maldivian problem. How I see it, even the events of November 3 was a problem for Maldivians. An undesirable act, yes, but nevertheless a Maldivian problem.

“I did not think it would be a wise move for any foreign country to make an intervention to solve a defence issue of the country, which is why I declined the offers,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed spoke of the moment he had resigned on the state broadcaster, which had earlier been stormed and taken over by the mutinying police and demonstrators. He stated that current Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim had strongly cautioned him against saying anything that might create public panic, and had ordered him to ask senior officials of MDP to remain calm.

“On that day at 1:00pm in the afternoon, I talked of both these points I have just shared with you here. My statement that day included what I wanted to say, as well as what ‘Baaghee’ (traitor) Nazim wanted me to say,” Nasheed said.

Referring to the defamation case filed by Nazim against Nasheed for having referred to him as “baaghee” (traitor), Nasheed said he would prove to the people the court proceedings that Nazim was indeed a traitor to the state.

“I wonder if he [Nazim] intends to go ahead with the defamation case? I certainly hope he does. With the help of my lawyers we will prove that he has actively taken part in a coup and is, without a doubt, a ‘baaghee’,” Nasheed said at last night’s rally.

Nasheed then spoke of the testimony given by Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam to the parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee, saying he had always held Nilam in the highest respect, and even more so after reading the testimony.

Brigadier General Nilam was suspended from his duties at MNDF on January 19, after providing testimony to the parliament committee. The official MNDF statement read that the former intelligence head had been relieved of his duties as an investigation into the officer was being being carried out.

Nasheed stated that according to the laws of the state, the term “baghawaiy” (coup) was only used in the Defence Forces Act.

“In this country, a coup can only be orchestrated with the participation of military force. The current constitution does not define any ‘acts against the state’. The word ‘baghawaiy’ can only be found in the Defence Forces Act. Hence, only the defence personnel will be guilty of partaking in a coup. Everyone else would have committed unlawful acts,” he said.

Nasheed said that he believed only about 5-10 people from the defence forces had willfully participated in the coup, adding the same was true of the police forces.

“I understand that the law stipulates both police and army personnel to refuse to obey unlawful commands. However, I do not believe that every time an officer issues a command, each soldier should have to decide in their individual capacity whether or not the given command is lawful,” Nasheed said.

In conclusion of his public address, Nasheed referred to the elections which are scheduled for the last quarter of the year.

“We have been calling for early elections since the day of the coup, in vain to date. Some people might now say that the elections are very close, and suggest that we just wait for it. Well, I say that that simply cannot be done. We cannot go into an election while we are in the midst of a coup d’etat,” Nasheed stated.

“Elections are a very modern concept which is done in a modern manner. We cannot enter elections while the country is run by coup orchestrators. We must first rise out of this coup,” Nasheed said, in conclusion, pledging to his supporters that the party would work to achieve the goal and to cleanse the country’s reputation in international circles.

Defence Minister Nazim was not responding at time of press.


Brigadier General Nilam suspended following testimony to Government Oversight Committee

Former head of military intelligence, Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, has been relieved of his duties at the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), by Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim.

According to a statement by the Defence Ministry yesterday, General Nilam was suspended because a case involving the former head of military intelligence was under investigation.

The statement did not provide further details or specify the nature of the investigation and alleged offence.

The move follows the Brigadier General’s testimony (Dhivehi) to parliament’s Government Oversight Committee on January 9, which was made public on Wednesday after MPs on the committee voted to publicise minutes of the closed session.

During the past two weeks, the oversight committee has summoned high-ranking officers of the security services for its review of the Commission of National Inquiry’s (CNI’s) report into the transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012.

In his testimony to the committee, Brigadier General Nilam said he was asked by Defence Minister Nazim if he believed that the transfer of power amounted to a coup or a revolution.

Nilam said he replied that, “looking at it academically, this has all the characteristics of a coup.”

“I have even looked into this and studied this along principles that academicians would consider. So I told [Nazim] that this has all the characteristics. He didn’t say anything else,” Nilam said.

Asked by pro-government Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan if he believed there was a coup d’etat, Nilam said based on his experience in military intelligence, “this has roots that go much deeper.”

Brigadier General Nilam was seen in leaked video from inside the MNDF headquarters showing a frenzied former President Nasheed ordering officers to go out and confront the mutinying police on the morning of February 7.

Responding to questions by committee members, Nilam explained that the president, defence minister and chief of defence forces were issuing orders because “the [military] lines weren’t working.”

“I was really saddened. This was not something I ever saw inside the military. There has been insubordination. There are former officers here [among MPs on the committee]. There is insubordination. But things have never happened like this in such an operation,” Nilam said at the committee.

Nilam added that he saw a president in a “very helpless” state, which was “a sad moment.”

“We are entrusted with the duty and responsibility of protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty. It is truly disturbing to see something like from [the military],” he said.

The brigadier general said he was present when current Defence Minister Nazim relayed the message for the president’s “unconditional” resignation.

He also noted that military officers banged the president’s car with their boots while he was taken to the President’s Office from the military headquarters and that current Chief of Defence Forces General Ahmed Shiyam took over as acting chief before President Nasheed officially resigned.

“There are lot of questions here. I believe that this should be investigated thoroughly and looked into. These are very serious matters,” he said.

Under Maldivian law, Brigadier General Nilam continued, a “coup d’etat” could not be carried out without the military’s involvement as the offence is specified and prohibited in the Defence Forces Act of 2008.

Asked by the committee’s chair, MP Ali Waheed, if there was a threat to the life of President Nasheed had he not resigned, Nilam said weapons were stored because there was fear of live armour being used and that the mutinying police were armed with riot gear.

Nilam also revealed that the military did not have “any control of [presidential residence] Muleeage after 7:00am or 7:30am in the morning.”

Police and ex-servicemen entered Muleeage after 7:15am on February 7, 2012, he added.

First Lady Laila Ali and the president’s daughters were reportedly taken to a safe location in the morning.

Continuing his testimony, Brigadier General Nilam said he overheard President refuse assistance from two foreign nations before he decided to resign.

“[The President] said this is an internal matter. He answered both calls in much the same way,” he said.

Nilam added that there was possibility of bloodshed “if it dragged on” and that the president’s life was in danger.

Meanwhile, former Chief Superintendent of Police Mohamed Jinah was also relieved of his duties last week following his testimony to the oversight committee.