PIC investigating Nazim’s complaint against Police Commissioner

Former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim’s legal team has submitted an official complaint to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) regarding claims that explosives were found in his home on January 18.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed confirmed that the complaint was related to claims by the Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed on January 29, in which he stated that an improvised explosive device was found at Nazim’s residence along with a pistol and ammunition.

Hameed stated that the search records given to Nazim listing the items that were found and confiscated by the police during the raid did not include any explosive devices, explaining that police only announced its discovery after an analysis conducted without independent oversight.

“We submitted the search record along with the recording of Hussain Waheed’s press conference. No explosives were listed to have been found. That is false information,” Hameed told Minivan News today.

The claims that explosives were found – cited by police as evidence that Nazim intended to harm senior officials and overthrow the government – has also prompted Nazim’s legal team to file a defamation case against the commissioner in Civil Court.

PIC Chair Fathimath Sareera confirmed that the case has been received and is now under investigation, though no further details were given.

As well as suggesting that police had planted the evidence in Nazim’s home, former Commissioner of Police MP Abdulla Riyaz – also on Nazim’s legal team – suggested earlier this week that the discovery of such a device should have prompted the evacuation of the area.

The legal team has also raised questions over why Nazim was arrested after more than 20 days had passed since the police raid on his residence.

The High Court appeal into Nazim’s 15-day remand period – approved on the day of his arrest last week (February 10) – was concluded yesterday, though no hearing was scheduled for today.

Amnesty International are investigating his disappearance as a social media and poster campaign has sprung up calling for his release.

Nazim was dismissed as the defence minister on January 20, being replaced with Major General (retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel who served as the Chief of Defence Force during President Mohamed Nasheed’s presidency.

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Three-month old Maldivian baby dies in Syria

Media sources have reported that a three-month old Maldivian baby has died in Syria after being taken their with her parents.

According to reports, the baby died as a result of respiratory difficulties around one week ago due to lack of adequate healthcare.

It was also reported that, after the child had fallen ill, the mother attempted to travel back to the Maldives but was prevented from contacting relatives due to the lack of cooperation from her husband and other jihadists.

Her parents are said to have travelled to Syria for jihad around two months ago, crossing into the country from Turkey.

Maldives Police Service media officials stated that the they had not yet received any information about the case.

Earlier this week, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed called it a cause of concern that Maldivian nationals are leaving the country to fight in wars abroad.

In a police function held on February 2, the Commissioner said it is necessary for all police officers to work together in order stop Maldivians joining wars abroad, instructing the intelligence department to immediately take preventative measures if the service receives any information regarding such a case.

Since the first reports of Maldivians travelling to ISIS-held territories for jihad were received last year, a steady stream of recruits have left the country, including couples and entire families.

The exact number of Maldivians abroad for jihad remains unclear, with Haveeru reporting a group of six having departed last week, as well as a dozen more said to have gone to Syria at the start of January.

Commissioner Waheed has previously estimated that around 50 Maldivians are working with foreign rebel groups, dwarfing figures suggested by Home Minister Umar Naseer in December.

Despite assurances that the activities of radicals are being monitored, the group said to have left in early January included a number of individuals known to police.

They included Azlif Rauf – a suspect in the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, and an individual arrested over the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

Last month, four would-be jihadis were apprehended in Malaysia, with media reporting that they were brought back to the Maldives and released after the authorities seized their passports. A similar group were returned from Sri Lanka in November.

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Over 50 Maldivian militants fighting in foreign wars, reveals Commissioner of Police

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Allegations of ties between police and terrorist groups harm national interest, says police commissioner

Allegations of links between Maldivian security services and foreign terrorist organisation are false and intended to bring disrepute to the police and military, insists Commissioner of Police (CP) Hussain Waheed.

“The commissioner of police said no one who wishes well or wants a good future for the country would speak ill of the public and talk either in the Maldives or abroad in a manner that could render the country’s sound institutions powerless,” reads a news item published on the police website yesterday.

The CP argued such claims would not bring any benefit to the country, but instead harm national interest, adversely affect the economy, and incite unrest and strife among the public.

Allegations that damage national interest and threaten national security would be investigated, Waheed warned, and “necessary action would be taken.”

Waheed’s remarks follow former President Mohamed Nasheed claiming that the vast majority of Maldivians fighting in Syria and Iraq were ex-military.

In an interview with The Independent newspaper in the UK last month, the opposition leader warned that radical Islam was growing stronger in the Maldives.

“Their strength in the military and in the police is very significant. They have people in strategic positions within both,” he alleged.

Waheed meanwhile noted that police and army officers had sworn an oath to protect Maldivian sovereignty and ensure the safety and security of citizens.

“Therefore, neither the police institution nor the defence forces would do anything that could threaten national interest and cause harm to the people,” police said, adding that such allegations against the security services was “unacceptable”.

Following the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s claim in May that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services, the defence ministry dismissed the allegations as both “baseless and untrue” and intended to “discredit and disparage” the military.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) meanwhile issued a press release on September 18 condemning Nasheed’s allegations in the Independent.

While police estimated that about 24 persons with links to militant jihadist organisations might be active in the Maldives, MPS insisted that none of them were police officers.

“And the police leadership has always been working to ensure that such people are not formed within the police,” the statement read.

As such allegations from a former president could incite fear among the public and damage the economy, police urged all parties to refrain from making false statements “to gain the public’s support, achieve political purposes, or win approval from foreign nations”.

“Islamist threat”

In his interview, Nasheed blamed an influx of Saudi Arabian funds for the conservative turn of Maldivian society in recent years and suggested that President Abdulla Yameen might tacitly encourage radicalism.

“President Yameen feels he can deal with the Islamist threat later but first he wants to consolidate power,” Nasheed explained.

“He has the Islamists with him and he can’t do away with them. He would deny that but I don’t see the government taking any measures against the Isis flag being displayed on the street and all the indoctrination going on. They have allowed the military to grow beards.”

“They are very short-sighted. Their thinking is that Islam has a lot of support and you can whip up more [political] support with religion.”

Nasheed warned that the government’s position was untenable.

“If you look at how at how Mosul fell – the top brass ran away because Isis had already infiltrated the rank and file,” Nasheed said.

“I have a feeling that our police and military are already taken. Eventually the Islamists will create havoc in the Maldives. I have no doubt about it.”

Last week, Nasheed suggested that radicalised gangs were behind the recent “atrocities” in the capital, noting that extremist religious indoctrination of youth was a relatively recent phenomenon in the Maldives.

The opposition leader claimed that many young men from criminal gangs were seen in a protest march held in Malé on September 5 with participants bearing the militant organisation Islamic State (IS) flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia.

Of the approximately 150 participants, Nasheed claimed most were “active in gangs.”

“So youth in gangs are turning to ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] ideology. That activities of ISIS are happening in the Maldives is becoming very clear to us. And while this is happening, the government is unable to stop gang activities,” he said.


Police commissioner discusses expediting cases with prosecutor general

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed met Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin this morning to discuss measures to fast-track investigation and prosecution of serious crimes following a crime wave in the capital during the past six days.

According to police media, discussions focused on expediting the investigation process with police working closely with state prosecutors to ensure that the evidence collected is sufficient to establish guilt at trial.

Senior investigating officers, senior officers in charge of operations, and members of the police executive board also participated in the meeting at the police headquarters at Iskandhar Koshi.

Muhthaz Muhsin was formerly a judge at the Criminal Court.


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.


Police Commissioner to participate in INTERPA conference

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed has left to Malaysia to participate in the third conference of the International Association of Police Academies (INTERPA) – the association’s fourth council meeting, and sixth executive board meeting.

According to the official police website, the conference will be held from April 21 to 24 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The theme of the conference is ‘Development of Teaching Staff in Police Academies’.

INTERPA has a wide membership, including police academies from Europe, Africa, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia.


Home Minister to introduce obligatory government service for school leavers

Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has revealed plans to introduce a “one or two year program under which every school leaver must serve the government”.

Naseer’s policy was revealed during a speech given at the inauguration of the police organised camp “Blues for Youth” on Sunday.

This is the second in the series of camps targeted for adolescents, with the current batch including youth from capital city Malé.

The first camp was held in Addu City and Fuvahmulah in late December, and police have announced that a second round of activities will be organised in these areas in the near future.

The current camp will be held from January 5 to 9, and has a total of sixty four participants between the ages of 15 and 18.

“The purpose of organising these camps is to contribute to future generations of school leavers becoming individuals who are aware of the ways of the world and skilled participants of the community,” a police media official told Minivan News today.

In addition to Umar Naseer, Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ahmed Saudhee and other senior police officials joined today’s inauguration event.

Commending the initiative by the commissioner of police in organising the camp, Home Minister Naseer stated that the ministry will broaden the camp at national level.

“This government’s policy is to ensure that every school leaver spends at least a year serving the government. God willing, we will extend the Commissioner’s initiative to the level where each school leaver is obligated to engage in national service for two years, or at the very least for one year,” he stated.

He described youth as being highly intelligent and capable of conducting work to improve community matters more effectively. He claimed that the government will be conducting special work to ensure that youth become well-disciplined and responsible by the time they reach the age of graduation.

Home Minister Umar Naseer was not responding to calls at the time of press.

The youth minister and commissioner of police also addressed the camp’s participants in Sunday’s event.

Minister Jamal, highlighting the importance of similar camps to empower and increase opportunities for youth, described the young generation as “the biggest treasure that any nation can possess”.

He stressed upon the importance of creating responsible youth if a bright future is to be established for a nation.

Earlier in January, speaking at a National Day event, the Youth Minister unveiled plans to find employment for all youth by the end of the coming year, 2015.

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed stated that there was a crucial need to increase participation of adolescents in the work to create a responsible youth generation.

“There is no pleasure any one can reap from frequenting scenes of crimes. It is by strongly staying away from crime and being responsible that real happiness can be achieved,” Waheed said.

He assured that the police force is ever willing to be of assistance to “bring youth to the right path” and to work for youth development.


Allegations of links to criminals dismissed as police celebrate SO Unit achievements

Commissioner of Police (CP) Hussain Waheed has dismissed as “absolutely baseless” allegations made by parliamentarians that the police had connections with criminals and the drug trade.

“The police force is not one that will encourage criminals or have ties with criminals who commit serious offences,” Waheed said at a new year celebration titled ‘SO Night’, held in Iskandhar Koshi on December 31 specifically for officers of the police’s Special Operations unit force.

He stated that, while the services of the police are widely accepted and appreciated by citizens, there have been recent instances where “some individuals have spread baseless rumours with the intention of damaging public trust in the forces”.

The event was held in order to celebrate the achievements of the force over the previous 12 months.

Waheed stated that he will not allow any persons to attempt to create rifts in the “strong and united force nor to damage the public trust in the tough work police conduct to maintain peace and stability in the community”.

Waheed stated that no one better knows the feelings of the public than the police, and that what the public most desire is a calm and peaceful community.

He called on the police to continue serving the people by working with a resolve to maintain a peaceful environment in the country.

Waheed promised the police forces that the leadership will develop infrastructure and human resource support within the year 2014.

Illicit drug trade and abuse

Assuring the public that police will continue to bring those involved in illicit drug trade and abuse to justice through courts of law, Waheed responded to allegations by some parliamentarians that the police were complicit in the drugs trade.

“The illicit drugs that we discover are safely under our care. Relevant authorities will know very well that such contraband are kept safely by us until the time comes to dispose of them as per the legal structure. There is also a mechanism through which one can inquire about the status of such contraband,” Waheed said.

“I am deeply saddened that even with such strong regulations around the matter, some people irresponsibly spread falsified rumours about the police force in a manner that will undermine the trust the public holds in us. There are also independent institutions that can conduct investigations should there be any police officer who is suspected of being involved in anything of the sort,” he expressed.

Allegations from parliamentarians

On December 29, 2013 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ibrahim Rasheed submitted an emergency motion to the parliament in regard to a stabbing incident which had occurred in the previous week.

Speaking in the parliamentary debate on the motion, members from the MDP and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) accused the police of having ties with criminals, gangs, and drug dealers.

Among them, MDP MP Nazim described the police force as a “gang instead of an institution these days”, alleging that the force had dismissed sincere officers and replaced them with people who are accused of having committed serious offences.

CP Waheed, however, last night emphasized that the Special Operations Unit is the “most respected force within the police which all departments look up to”, speaking at last night’s event.

Special Operations Unit

“SO Night” is an annual event held to celebrate various achievements of the Special Operations Unit.

The event concluded with a presentation by the SO department of their achievements in the previous year.

This includes having provided technical support 219 times to various other police departments, controlling 57 public protests, and conducting 55 special operations and 23 trips to manage situations in the atolls.

The presentation also noted that in all their annual work, the SO had only made use of pepper-spray as a weapon, noting that it had been used a total of 55 times.

Among other statistics shared at the event, the SO unit stated that “in all of the year, 40 SO officers were summoned to the Police Integrity Commission and 2 SO officers were summoned to the Human Rights Commission. In handling the various situations, 50 SO officers suffered injuries of different levels”.

SO Department Head Chief Inspector Ahmed Shameem stated that the unit had not resorted to the use of rubber bullets or tear gas in controlling any of the situations that arose in 2013.

He stated that the unit had refrained from using these weapons, not because they did not have them, but because of their professionalism and their capability to deal with the situations in other ways.

Celebrating the work of SO officers who had contributed notably to the department’s work, certificates of appreciation were given to officers who were a part of a number of operations, among which a key activity is Operation Blue Wave – the security operation conducted during the 2013 presidential election.