We will change the government according CoNI report, says Nasheed

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has said the opposition will change the government in the manner which was authenticated by Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report.

Speaking at a street rally in Malé held last night (January 3) by Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and its new ally the Jumhooree Party (JP), Nasheed said all political parties had agreed that the findings of the report would be accepted even before it had begun.

“This very report stated that the transfer of power on February 7 was made in accordance with the laws – President Yameen, we are also going to change your government in that very path deemed legal,” he said.

After the Commonwealth-backed inquiry ended the MDP’s hopes of overturning the new administration, Nasheed described the final report as a setting a legal precedent for the overthrow of an elected government through police or mob action.

The Maldives was left “in a very awkward, and in many ways, very comical” situation, said the former president at the time of the report’s release in August 2012, “where toppling the government by brute force is taken to be a reasonable course of action. All you have to do find is a narrative for that course of action.”

The report into the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s controversial resignation found that the change of government was “legal and constitutional”, and the events of February 6-7 “were, in large measure, reactions to the actions of President Nasheed”.

“The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will. It was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation,” the report claimed.

“[I]t is evident that President Nasheed lost the support of the coalition supporting the MDP which had brought him to power and it is an irrefutable fact that MDP never enjoyed a clear majority in the Parliament,” read the document, pointing to factors that led to his departure from office.

Constitutional amendments

Nasheed claimed last night that as stated in the CoNI report, President Abdulla Yameen’s government had also lost legitimacy after JP leader Gasim Ibrahim – who backed Yameen in the 2013 presidential run-off elections – pulled out of the coalition.

“There is no support for President Yameen’s presidency. The support he received even with President Maumoon is 25 percent,” Nasheed stated.

He argued that the spirit of the Maldivian Constitution is aligned with the presidential system of governance, which demands that one individual gains over 50 percent of the voting population’s support.

This support failed to materialise in either the 2013 presidential elections, or in his own 2008 victory, noted Nasheed.

“The result is that the new government in its infancy loses legitimacy after coalition partners pull out”.

Nasheed also stated that the Maldivian people do not wish to create a dictatorial ruler with a super majority, but rather wish “to find a way in which the Maldives is ruled under the principle of dialogue and discussion”.

He subsequently claimed that constitutional changes needed to be brought in order to facilitate a system of democracy in which the government can function without a super majority, through discussions and dialogue between political figures and parties.

The MDP and the JP held a third round of discussions at Maafannu Kunooz on Sunday (January 1) night, agreeing to officially sign a document concerning their joint efforts to defend the Constitution.

The document, scheduled to be signed at a special ceremony on Thursday (January 5), will be followed by a joint rally that evening at the Carnival area in Malé.

Although the Adhaalath Party has decided against joining the alliance, the Maldives Trade Union has joined the opposition, claiming that the government’s persistent violations of the constitution have “eroded crucial checks and balances and accountability mechanisms”.

Related to this story

No coup, no duress, no mutiny: CNI report

MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks


MDP suggests extremist ideologies prevalent within the security services

Concerning levels of extremist ideology are present within the Maldives military and police forces, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said.

In a statement issued today, the party said it has been noted that most militants travelling from the Maldives to foreign countries “in the name of jihad” are members of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Maldives Police Services (MPS).

The Ministry of Defence and National Security has responded to the MDP’s remarks, describing the accusations as “baseless and untrue” comment intended to “discredit and disparage” military.

“Therefore we condemn in the strictest terms this irresponsible act of the Maldivian Democratic Party. And call on the Maldivian Democratic Party to stop spreading misinformation in ways which could confuse the public and become a responsible political party,” the ministry’s statement read. The Maldives Police Service (MPS) have not commented on the issue.

Citing foreign intelligence agencies, the MDP said funds of an unknown nature are being transferred to foreign parties through Maldivian banks.

Earlier this month, the US State Department releases a report claiming Maldivian authorities had knowledge of funds for terrorism being raised in the country – a claim subsequently denied by the Maldives Monetary Authority.

The MDP today said that the Maldives was now becoming a transit port for illegal drug trafficking, with a large amount of strong drugs already being delivered internationally through the country.

Local media have today reported over 3kgs of illegal drugs being seized in the capital Malé as the Home Ministry continues to crack down on the trade.

A record haul of 24kg of heroin was seized by police in March before of Pakistani nationals arrested in the operation were set free – an incident cited by the acting prosecutor general for his recent resignation.

“This is taking place at a time when definite proof of Defence Minister [Mohamed Nazim] and Tourism Minister’s [Ahmed Adeeb] close relations with world famous drug cartels or gangs are being revealed through photos and others mediums,” read the MDP statement.

Suggesting that extremist elements within the security force were behind the “overthrow of the first democratic government of Maldives in a coup d’etat on 7 February 2012”, the party called on state authorities to launch criminal investigations and to take action against guilty members of security forces as per the recommendations of the CoNI (Commission of National Inquiry) report.

This party calls upon the responsible authorities of the state to to investigate and look in to the points noted in the CoNI report, and remove the extremist elements within the security forces.

“The party calls on the relevant committee of the People’s Majlis to immediately investigate and take necessary action against those in the security forces who are following extremist ideologies , and earn the goodwill of the Maldivian citizens and foreign parties, and make this country peaceful,” the statement continued.


Civil Court declares former police intelligence director’s arrest unlawful

The Civil Court has declared the Maldives Police Services’ arrest of former Director of Police Intelligence Sabra Noordeen on 16 March 2013 unlawful, unwarranted, and an ‘abuse of power’.

The court has also ordered the police to erase the record of the arrest and to issue a written apology.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Sabra said she had filed the case “because I wanted to set a legal precedent which would make the Police think about the wider rights and responsibilities they have to uphold before they exercise their powers.”

The police arrested Sabra upon her arrival at Malé International Airport on 16 March 2013 on the charge of “inciting violence” against a police officer on 5 March 2013 during the arrest of President Mohamed Nasheed. The police also confiscated her passport.

She was then handcuffed in order to be transferred to Dhoonidhoo prison. However, the police took her to Malé instead, and released her after issuing a summons to appear at the police station at a later date for questioning.

Sabra first appealed the Criminal Court warrant at the High Court and asked for compensation for damages. In August 2013, the High Court ruled the warrant valid, but said that Sabra should seek compensation at the Civil Court.

In yesterday’s verdict, the Civil Court noted the Criminal Court had not ordered the police to arrest Sabra, but had provided a warrant authorising her arrest upon the police’s request.

The court said she could only be arrested under such a warrant if there was “a necessity for her arrest”,  and if such a necessity ceases to exist, she should not be arrested “even if the warrant has not expired”.

The Civil Court noted that the High Court judges had deemed Sabra’s quick release on the day of her arrest to have been an indication of the lack of necessity for her arrest.

The Civil Court has also warned that the police’s abuse of power defeats the purpose for which the institution was founded, and would create doubt and fear about the the institution.

The verdict declared that Sabra’s arrest violated her right to protect her reputation and good name as guaranteed by Article 33 of the constitution, and the right to fair administrative action guaranteed by Article 43. The court also found that the police had acted against their primary objectives underlined in Article 244.

Following her arrest in March 2013, Sabra called for police reform in order for the institution to regain public confidence – including the dissolution of Special Operations unit and holding police officers accountable for misconduct and brutality.

“I quit the Maldives Police Service on 8 February 2012 with a profound sense of sadness for the institution and the colleagues I left behind. I do not believe that everyone in the MPS was involved in the mutiny or the coup and I do not believe in blaming everyone in a police uniform,” she wrote in an article detailing the events of her arrest.

Previously, the Criminal Court had declared the police’s arrest of incumbent Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and the arrest of Ghassaan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as unlawful.

In 2010, the Civil Court also declared the Maldives National Defense Force’s “protective custody” of current President Abdulla Yameen as unconstitutional, while the Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of both Yameen and Gasim Ibrahim (both members of parliament at the time).

Accusations of brutality and misconduct by MPS officers are common and have been confirmed by various independent state institutions. Among them are the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) that looked in to the controversial power transfer of February 2012 and two constitutionally prescribed independent institutions – the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the Police Integrity Commission.


Prosecutor General resigns before no-confidence debate

Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizzu has today tendered his resignation, shortly before parliament was set to debate a no-confidence motion against him.

The President’s Office has confirmed that Muiz wrote to newly elected President Abdulla Yameen, following through on a previous promise not to allow the censure motion to reach the floor of the house.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) filed the motion against Muiz on October 24, claiming that that he had failed to take action against the police and the military officers who mutinied against former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 2012.

Parliament was scheduled to discuss the motion at 1:30pm today. The MDP currently holds a simple majority in parliament, recently using its position to secure the removal of Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor in the final days of the Waheed administration.

The MDP in its statement argued that the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report had given clear evidence of gross misconduct by the police and the military on February 7 and 8 2012, which included brutalizing protesters and undermining fundamental rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution.

The party alleged that the PG – despite having the power, authority, and the mandate to look into such actions – had failed to take any action against the wrongdoing noted in the CoNI report.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has also alleged that Muiz’s independence and impartiality had been compromised in return for his job security.

The PG is constitutionally required to act independently and impartially, with only general policy directives from the AG.

After the original hearings of the Majlis Independent Institutions Committee was disrupted by pro-government MPs, Muiz produced a written response to the charges earlier this month, maintaining that he had always executed his responsibilities in accordance with the constitution and Islamic Sharia.

President Yameen is now required to appoint to the post an individual approved by the majority of the total membership of the People’s Majlis.


Turkish training will strengthen police, says Commissioner Riyaz

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has hailed a new agreement between the Turkish Government and the Maldives Police Service (MPS) as providing the means to strengthen the institution.

Returning from an official trip to Turkey last week, Riyaz posted a video statement online revealing the full details of the memorandum of understanding with Turkish police.

“They have agreed to give us 5 slots in a degree programme in a security studies course, as well as 2 slots in a masters programme, scheduled to start in their Police Academy next month,” he explained.

The police commissioner also revealed that the MPS will, in future, be offered instruction in policing corruption, drugs, and serious organised crime.

“We have also asked for assistance with obtaining police electronics, computers, vehicles and infrastructure. They appeared positive and said they will respond to proposals on a case by case, project by project basis,” he continued.

The Turkish government has reportedly been offering similar training and assistance to a number of countries this year, including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Albania, Mongolia, Palestine, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan.

Riyaz’s announcement of the deal’s specifics follows criticisms by former President Mohamed Nasheed over what he believes is a lack of police reform following the publication of the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report last year.

Speaking at the opening of a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) campaign outlet in Male’ yesterday (August 19), Nasheed reportedly told supporters that he had failed to see any police reform, despite his acceptance of the CoNI report being based solely on this feature.

The report, designed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s controversial resignation on February 7, 2012, urged changes to the country’s judiciary, legislature, certain independent institutions, and the police service.

Nasheed and the ousted MDP have maintained that the former president’s resignation took place under duress during a police and military mutiny, and that the ensuing government of Dr Mohamed Waheed is illegitimate.

Whilst ruling the transfer of power not to have been a coup, the commission recommended “immediate steps be taken to provide assistance and encouragement…with a view to their increased effectiveness and general performance in the service of the common good and public interest.”

Commissioner Riyaz, appointed immediately after Nasheed’s controversial resignation, has been condemned by the MDP for his alleged role in the former president’s exit from office.

Despite his misgivings over the police’s progress towards addressing the CoNI report’s recommendations, Nasheed struck a conciliatory tone towards police, urging cooperation from his supporters.

“During this period, I urge all members of this party to smile at police officers, to care for them, to cooperate with them and trust them,” he said.

Local media also reported Nasheed as expressing his wish to address each police officer individually in his attempts to press ahead with reforming the institution.

“I believe that Maldives cannot have stability without reforming the police service,” said Nasheed.

Riyaz last month said he would not follow any unconstitutional orders, following a leaked document purported to be the MDP’s plans for introducing decentralised security services in the event of victory in next month’s presidential poll. The document was disowned by Nasheed’s party.


“We will not follow unconstitutional orders, even if a new president is installed tomorrow”: Police Commissioner Riyaz

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has said his institution will continue to refuse any orders it decides are “unconstitutional”, while expressing concerns over leaked proposals allegedly devised by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to reform the country’s security forces.

In an interview on the Maldives Police Service (MPS) website, Commissioner Riyaz expressed concern at a leaked policy paper that he alleged sought to dismantle and undermine law enforcement, calling for the opposition MDP to clarify if the policies were genuinely part of the party’s election policy.

“I don’t want to say anything specifically about something that has been prepared politically or for a political purpose, but we do have a constitution and the MPS is an institution formed by the constitution,” he said, speaking just over a month ahead of the 2013 presidential election.

Proposals in the paper – leaked on social media earlier this month – include transferring the police to the authority of city councils, similar to the system in the US, while providing salaries and allowances of officers through the Local Government Authority (LGA).

The MDP last week questioned the legitimacy of the leaked reform proposals, claiming the party had no knowledge of such a document, despite backing the idea of a ”transitional arrangement” to reform the country’s security forces after last year’s controversial transfer of power.

The opposition party continues to maintain that former President Mohamed Nasheed was deposed in a “coup d’etat” after being forced to resign from office following a mutiny by sections of the police and military.

The allegations were later rejected by a Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) that ruled that there had been “no coup, no duress and no mutiny”, while also calling for action taken against unlawful acts committed by the country’s security forces following the transfer.

“Dismantle” fears

Commissioner Riyaz, who took office immediately after the power transfer, said proposals in the leaked documents could not be implemented within regulations outlined under the Police Act.

The commissioner also rejected the professional capacity of individuals behind the reforms, which he claimed sought to “dismantle” and undermine the large role security services play in the country.

“I’d like to tell the MDP that they should clarify whether it is their policy or not. If it is their policy, it is of great concern. This [police] institution will be very concerned,” he said. “Politicians should not try to play with this institution. Help this institution develop. Work to make this institution more responsible. To make it operationally accountable. Don’t use political influence to carry out political objectives through this institution.”

Riyaz alleged that certain senior government figures over the last three years had attempted to limit or weaken police in the country through the use of political influence that led to officers “straying from their path”.

He insinuated that police would not allow a similar event to happen again.

With an estimated 3,500 individuals employed within the MPS, including a large number of families, Riyaz questioned whether any political leader would seek to “discredit” the institution.

“I don’t believe that someone who is working to become the leader of this country will do this because of these reasons.  This country will do this because of these reasons,” he said. “To maintain law and order in the country, firstly no one can govern, unless they are able to maintain law and order.”

Commissioner Riyaz added that the mandate of the police was set out in the constitution, adding that any reforms to the institution’s work could only be enacted by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

“We remain firm. We will not follow any unconstitutional orders, even if a new president is instated tomorrow,” he said during the interview. “Even if I’m not here, the rest will also not follow these orders. Maldivian politicians should know this. I believe they do.”

“Whichever individual becomes President tomorrow can no longer just change the constitution, the existing law. That individual, holding the presidency,  can only bring such big changes with a parliamentary majority.”

When contacted to clarify the comments within the interview, Commissioner Riyaz today forwarded inquiries to Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef.

Chief Inspector Haneef defined an unconstitutional order for the police as something that contradicted Maldivian law.

“Operationally we are independent. We do not follow political orders, but we follow the country’s law,” Haneef said.

He added that officers would refuse to follow orders “outside the law” whether they were issued by a president, or a superior officer.

Asked who was responsible for determining whether a particular order was unconstitutional, Haneef said the decision would be made in accordance with regulations outlined in the Police Act, as well as official codes and procedures outlined by the MPS itself.

“It is very clear within the Police Act [as to how a constitutional order] is defined,” he said. “Every person must be accountable for the orders they give.”

At times of press, Minivan News was awaiting a response from the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) over the correct procedure for reforms and the definition of an “unconstitutional order”.

Reform mandate

Speaking last week, MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor personally dismissed having knowledge of the leaked paper on police reforms, despite claiming that the opposition party had considered the need for a “transitional agreement” for reforms of the country’s security forces based on recommendations raised in last year’s CoNI report.

With the CoNI process concluded, Ghafoor accused the Commonwealth and the wider international community of failing to ensure reforms to strengthen democratic institutions called for in the report’s findings were met.

He alleged that the MPS had failed to fully be transferred from a militarised to civil institution dating back to the administration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s before the country’s first multi-party democratic election in 2008.

“Gayoom had moved to separate the military and police into different bodies. In the end, he failed to do this adequately,” Ghafoor said.

Despite pledging to reform the police and military, the MDP said it was not planning a “witch-hunt”.

According to Ghafoor, the MDP was instead focused on trying to secure a “huge election majority” in order to carry out reforms with the mandate of the public.

“This will help solve everything,” he said at the time.


Supreme Court takes over Civil Court case on legitimacy of transfer of power

The Supreme Court has taken over a case filed at the Civil Court by dismissed Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, who had requested a ruling declaring that the transfer of power on February 7, 2012 was illegitimate.

The Supreme Court ordered the lower court last week to suspend its proceedings and send over the case files before 3:00pm on Thursday (May 23). The court order (Dhivehi) stated that the apex court would determine whether the Civil Court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

The court order was issued following a request by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for the Supreme Court to decide on the question of jurisdiction.

At the first hearing of the Civil Court case, the AGO requested proceedings be halted pending a ruling from the Supreme Court. However, the judge decided to proceed with the hearing in the absence of a court order by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court order was revealed today by the recently launched official twitter account of the Civil Court.

Dhiyana Saeed – also former SAARC Secretary General and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s first Attorney General – had first submitted the case to the High Court, which however decided that it was outside the appeal court’s jurisdiction.

The case was filed at the Civil Court earlier this month.

The defendant in Dhiyana’s lawsuit was Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, who recently defected from the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and is currently campaigning for former President Nasheed.

Nasheed resigned in the wake of a violent mutiny by Special Operations (SO) police officers, who assaulted government supporters, ransacked the ruling party Haruge (meeting hall), protested at the Republic Square, clashed with the military, vandalised the police headquarters and stormed the state broadcaster on the morning of February 7.

Saeed’s lawsuit noted that Shahid was the state official with the authority under article 121 of the constitution to declare the office of the president vacant, should an incumbent president resign or vacate the office.

“It was the Speaker of Parliament who declared the office of president vacant, be it had he done it knowingly, mistakenly or unknowingly,” Saeed told newspaper Haveeru. “This doesn’t mean Shahid committed a criminal offense. It also does not mean that he partook in the events or that he made the decision [maliciously].”

She contended that Speaker Shahid had failed to look into the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s resignation before accepting the letter.

Saeed told Minivan News that she and her co-counsels “stopped short of asking for Nasheed’s reinstatement,” adding that she did not have “the locus standi to ask for a particular relief.”

“If the ruling comes in our favour, it might be possible for Nasheed to institute a second proceeding for reinstatement. As far as this case is concerned, our interest is in the rule of law and invoking constitutional process to uphold the legal order as stipulated by the constitution,” Saeed explained at the time.

Supreme Court intervention

Meanwhile, in her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council following a visit to the Maldives, UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul observed that it was “troublesome that some of the Supreme Court’s interventions are perceived as arbitrary and as serving the judges’ own personal interests.”

“Moreover, the Supreme Court is said to have taken away cases directly from the superior courts before they were adjudicated, without explaining which criteria or procedures were applied,” Knaul wrote.

The Supreme Court has on a number of occasions issued writs of mandamus taking over cases from lower courts. In November 2012, the Supreme Court instructed the High Court to suspend proceedings on an appeal by former President Nasheed concerning the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

At the same time, the apex court ordered the Civil Court to send over all files on a case submitted by a lawyer, Ismail Visham, disputing the legal status of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Supreme Court also intervened in litigation concerning a border control project awarded to Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis.

Transfer of power

Following her dismissal from the cabinet by President Dr Mohamed Waheed last year, Saeed released a personal memoir alleging that Nasheed’s political rivals had conspired to assassinate him.

Saeed alleged that the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7 was the result of a premeditated and well-orchestrated plan, and questioned the findings of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), which concluded that Nasheed had resigned voluntarily.

In January 2013, parliament’s Government Oversight Committee commenced a review of the CoNI report and heard testimony from six of the highest-ranking officers of the security services at the time of the transfer of power.

Following its inquiry, Committee Chair MP Ali Waheed claimed that the report produced by CoNI was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee.

The CoNI report lacked “key information [senior police and military officers] had given” while “others claimed their information was wrongly presented,” the MDP MP said at the time.


Summary: Testimony of former police commissioner to Government Oversight Committee

In January 2013, parliament’s Government Oversight Committee heard testimony from six of the highest-ranking officers of the police and military for its review of the Commission of National Inquiry’s (CoNI’s) report into the transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012. Minutes of the closed-door sessions (Dhivehi) along with audio recordings were made public on January 16, 2013.

Following is a translated summary of the testimony from former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh to the oversight committee on January 11, 2013. Faseeh retired from the police service shortly after President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation.

Three or four nights before February 6, 2012, opposition coalition protesters at the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) building area took to the streets and began marching through the narrow roads of the capital. At the time, the demonstrations were taking place every night in front of the MMA building, after which the protesters would march across Male’ until the early hours of morning.

On the night in question, about 800 people were gathered at the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge (meeting hall) on Ameenee Magu. Fearing a possible confrontation, Faseeh asked his commanders to make sure that the opposition protesters do not reach Haruge.

While he was inside the police headquarters, Faseeh suddenly heard a platoon of Specialist Operations (SO) riot police take off on a police vehicle.

Acting without orders, the SO platoon stormed Haruge and pepper-sprayed ruling party supporters.

Faseeh called Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim and asked for a platoon of soldiers to be sent to the area to control the situation. The SO officers left Haruge when the military platoon arrived.

Following the SO attack on Haruge, two groups of MDP activists led by MPs Alhan Fahmy and ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik made their way to the Supreme Court building and MMA area. With no command from senior officers, SO officers forcibly broke up the group led by Reeko Moosa as soon as they reached the MMA building.

The next morning, then-head of police intelligence, Chief Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed, informed Faseeh of an intercepted phone call between a SO lance corporal and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof. The call was intercepted and shared by military intelligence.

In the recorded phone call, the SO officer boasts of pepper spraying people at Haruge and beating up MDP activists when they came to the MMA area. MP Mahloof asks the lance corporal why they did not break MP Moosa Manik’s leg.

“And [the SO officer] replies, ‘we can’t just break [his leg] like that. That’s not how this is going on.’ In any case, they talked like they were the closest buddies.”

The officer was immediately transferred out of the SO unit to Feydhoo Finolhu pending disciplinary proceedings.

On the night of February 6, President Nasheed called Faseeh and asked for the SO to be withdrawn. Opposition coalition protesters and ruling party supporters were facing off at the artificial beach with riot police separating the rival demonstrators.

Nasheed told the commissioner that he did not have confidence in police based on reliable intelligence information, which suggested that riot police were working with the opposition. Faseeh recalled the intercepted phone call and wondered if the President’s order was prompted by similar intelligence information.

Faseeh then asked Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim to dispatch a platoon of soldiers from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to take over from riot police. The soldiers were sent to artificial beach an hour later and the SO officers reluctantly withdrew to Republic Square. Riot police troops were staged at the helipad in the middle of the square.

Faseeh was in his office with Assistant Commissioner Sodiq when he heard a loud commotion coming from Republic Square. From his balcony, Faseeh saw police vehicles taking off and SO officers screaming, “let’s go beat them up.”

Faseeh ran downstairs and saw SO officers running. Deputy Commissioner Ismail Atheef was there. Faseeh did not know what was going on.

He was later informed that Atheef snatched the keys from one of the police lorries. But the SO officers left on other vehicles while others ran to the artificial beach. The Republic Square was soon empty.

Shortly thereafter, a cousin called Faseeh and said a police lorry was going towards the MDP Haruge on Ameenee Magu. He said they were screaming obscenities very loudly.

MDP Haruge on February 7: Photo by Haveeru

“Then they went to MDP Haruge. They went inside MDP Haruge, beat up some people there and damaged things and even beat some people they met on the road.”

Faseeh also learned that they chased after and beat people at the artificial beach. After attacking Haruge the rogue SO officers returned to Republic Square. Faseeh was despairing “because my troops committed such lowly acts.”

“Even if they were given an order to do something illegal that does not mean they have to commit bigger crimes.”

Faseeh went out to Republic Square and asked Deputy Commissioners Atheef and Muneer to go talk with the SO officers. Faseeh waited near the flag post. Muneer returned and said they responded with filth and obscenities. Muneer advised Faseeh against meeting them.

Faseeh saw three or four officers carry Deputy Commissioner Atheef inside the headquarters after he fainted.

“What happened was Athee couldn’t believe these were actually police.”

Other officers, including “blues,” came out of the headquarters and started loitering around the square. The rogue SO officers at the helipad area occasionally called for the resignation of President Nasheed.

Around 11pm, Faseeh went to the military headquarters. President Nasheed called and asked what was going on.

“I said I don’t know what they’ve done. They are now in a mutiny.”

All the generals, the chief of defence forces and the defence minister were at the military headquarters. They were discussing how to get the police to withdraw.

Faseeh told the senior officers that the mutinying SO was his “elite force.”

“When the SO are insubordinate, there aren’t any others who could talk to them or control them.”

The officers then began preparing to control the situation. Faseeh stayed with Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel and Defence Minister Tholhath and saw that they started working on it.

“They started and gave different times. 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30. But by the time it turned 4 it still couldn’t be done. It kept dragging on.”

The soldiers would form ranks, get set and withdraw. “The soldiers were very cowardly.”

Around 4am, President Nasheed came to the military headquarters. He asked Major General Jaleel why the military were unable to push the SO back. Faseeh recalled that there were about 150 mutinying officers at the Republic Square at dawn.

The soldiers were sent out again but they did not confront the SO.

A frustrated President Nasheed suggested to Jaleel that he could accomplish the task with a water canon and 20 soldiers.

Shortly after the dawn prayer was called, President Nasheed asked Faseeh to meet the rogue police and attempt to advise them. After praying, Faseeh instructed his secretary to ask the SO commanders to come and meet the commissioner.

The commanders refused.

A few civilians were near the Republic Square at the time. Faseeh’s private secretary informed him that the SO officers were “worse than before and more aggressive.” Faseeh decided not to go out and meet them. He managed to pass on a message to the four SO squad commanders from President Nasheed assuring them that they would be treated fairly.

From inside the police headquarters, Faseeh heard MDP supporters heading into Republic Square from the Chandaneemagu-Orchidmagu junction.

The mutinying officers were chanting their core values, oath or mission statement with one arm on the chest. As soon as it was done, they turned and ran towards the MDP group.

Faseeh saw loud clashes and “a big fight.”

“That was when the flame was lit. And the boys who lost control there came and threw huge stones at the police office, threw things inside the police office, vandalised places, destroyed a lorry there, threw rocks at MNDF.”

Faseeh saw the police officers use their batons during the confrontation. After they vandalised the police office, Faseeh’s bodyguard wanted to take him to a secure location but he went to the administrative commissioner’s office.

The mutinying officers were running inside the police building making death threats. Chief Superintendents Hameed and Mohamed Jinah as well as Atheef were assaulted.

Two officers came looking for Faseeh but were thwarted by the commissioner’s secretary. They slammed into the door twice trying to break it down but soon left.

The violent officers “destroyed” the conference room and mess room and damaged electronic equipment and a television set.

Faseeh recalled forming the SO in 2004 by training and bodybuilding 35 recruits. They were used to control demonstrations staged by the MDP during the post-2003 pro-democracy movement.

“They are all really the same [riot police] sent out when the MDP people gathered back then to take away the rice pudding bowl, take down banners and do all that. So in truth there is going to be something of Maumoonism inside their heads.”

Faseeh decided to resign after hearing current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim demand his resignation upon emerging from the military headquarters between 10:00am and 11:00am. Nazim said he had relayed a “non-negotiable” demand for President Nasheed to resign within the hour “without any conditions.”


Translation: CoNI testimony of Deputy Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed

The current Deputy Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed gave testimony to the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) concerning the events 7 February 2012. At the time, he was an Assistant Commissioner of Police. This is a translation from the Dhivehi transcript of his testimony, focusing on the night of the 6th and the early hours of 7th February.

On 6th February, around 1:30 former Commissioner Faseeh summoned me.

“This is not a conversation I desire. But, given the responsibilities of my position, I have no choice but to tell you this,” the Commissioner said.

“Go on,” I replied.

“The President has ordered that you be asked to resign, the Home Minister tells me. So I am asking you to resign.”

The whole place went slightly silent for a moment.

“Why? What’s the reason”, I asked.

“I don’t know the reason”, CP said. “There isn’t one.”

“What if I don’t resign?” I asked after another moment of silence. “What then?”

“Nothing. Legally, nothing can happen to you. You are not in a political position. You are an Assistant Commissioner. Nothing can be done legally to force you to resign.”

“I have to think about this,” I said.

“There isn’t much time to think,” the Commissioner replied. “You have to make a quick decision.”

“Give me until Sunday,” I said.

It was a Thursday, from what I recall… a Monday, yes it was a Monday.

“You don’t have time to think,” the Commissioner said. “Besides, whatever you think, ultimately the answer will have to be yes.”

“It will be hard, working against the system. I am more swayed towards leaving than not. Anyway, I need a holiday. I’ll use the time to arrange my retirement and stuff,” I told the Commissioner.

I collected by cap — no, my glasses and keys — from my desk and went straight home. I spent sometime with my young one before my wife returned.

I told her about the conversation with the Commissioner.

“That’s where I am now. I have to make a decision.”

I rang my father a bit later, had a chat with him about it.

I thought. I have spent considerable time within the police and military. I knew my arrest was inevitable. Okay, the resignation request was polite, but when they say, “You must resign,” that means there’s going to be an allegation surfacing from somewhere to back up such an order. That’s why they were coming for me. They would arrest me. I wanted to spend sometime with my child.

I stayed in the same clothes as before. Any moment now, they would arrive. I knew. Somebody would come. Someone would have at least a question to ask of me.

Waiting, I nodded off. It was around 20:00 when I awoke. I phoned a friend, Shahdhy.

“I need to talk. Better if you come for me.” Shahdy could only make it around 22:00. I could wait. Time, I had a lot of it. When he came, we went to the Gallery [Cafe].

I had a coffee. Shahdhy ate. He had just been to the gym.

I talked about the order for me to resign, and the need to get a job. That’s the gist of it. At this point, retired Deputy Commissioner Rishwan called Shahdhy. I talked to him on Shahdhy’s phone and invited him to join us.

By then Shadhy had finished eating, and I had finished my coffee. Without quite knowing why, I felt uneasy. Really, ‘from inside’ I just didn’t feel that comfortable.

“Let’s go somewhere else,” I said, as soon as Rishwan came. “Let’s not have coffee here.”

We didn’t stay long. Only long enough for Rishwan to have a cigarette. Shahydh paid the bill, and we left. We went for a short spin, then to Trends. Upstairs was closed. We had wanted a secluded place. Shahdhy has good relations with the boys who work there. We got a table with a view upstairs.

Our conversation was about jobs. Rishwan made me some very good offers. It probably has to do with our relationship. They were great offers. A percentage share of his company, plus a job. We were deep in this discussion when a colleague, Shaz, phoned me.

“It’s on TV. A Facebook status update [by wife] about your resignation, being asked to resign’, Shaz said. “It’s a hit story.”

“It’s true,” I confirmed.

My other phone started ringing. More friends calling. I better switch them off, I thought. That was around 10:30. I can’t tell you the exact time. It was between 10:00 and 11:00 anyway. I switched both phones off. Somehow, my wife knew I was with Rishwan. She rang Rishwan whenever she wanted to talk to me.

We saw a large number of police lads running past Trends. They seemed to be shouting. As I was going up, I bumped into Akram Kamaluddin. I even shook hands with him. He’s a boss at my wife’s office. When I came down, they were still there, Akram and Saleem. I greeted them as I left.

It was around 11:oo, 12:00. Not that late. Police movements had ended by then, for sure. We rode along the road to the east of Henveiru Stadium, collected the wife from a house she was staying in, sat her behind Rishwan and went home. I took a lift with Shaydhy.

“Don’t come outside. Stay in tonight.” Rishwan warned me, as I lingering at the gate. Both my phones were off. I couldn’t phone anyone else.

I wasn’t long inside when I heard a crowd outside. They smashed our shop windows. I didn’t feel like calling the police, and asked my wife to do it. I told her which number to dial.

“Phone the Duty Officer. Report what has happened.”

She relayed the message. What happened afterwards, I don’t know, I didn’t check.

My aunty came to see me. So did my father. My Dhonma. My two other younger sisters. A brother. He spent sometime with me. We were all glued to the television. Raajje TV.

‘Hussein Waheed vandalised MDP Haruge and pepper-sprayed the people there.’ Raajje TV reported. I didn’t hear those exact words when I switched it on, but I heard about it being said. On the ticker was the news that ‘Commissioner Hussein Waheed has been fired.’ Or it said ‘retired’. I don’t know the exact word. I didn’t pay much attention. It’s not a channel I like watching anyway, I don’t pay much attention to it. I had to watch it on that night because of what I had heard that day.

When all the glass had been smashed and things had quietened down, it was around 2:30-3:00. I changed and went for another lie down.

From what I heard on television, things had gone very badly that day. Police had gone in to control a confrontation on Artificial Beach, withdrawn, been ordered away to the Republic Square, stayed there…these are all things I had heard.

I tried to sleep but failed. I stayed in bed, though, until about 7:00 or 8:00.

“President Nasheed is speaking to the police lads. The mood wasn’t good. ‘No sir,’ we heard them say,” a brother-in-law said to me.

I went in to watch TV. Even bigger events were unfolding. A confrontation between the police and the military.


My father arrived at my house.

“You must go there,” he said.

“No. If I go there, I’ll be blamed even more. Some of the lads may be destroyed because of me. I won’t go there.” Right then, on TV, I saw weapons for rubber bullet pallet balls. I saw gassing.

I’ve been in the armed forces for a while, I’m familiar with how such situations process. I knew it would be live rounds next. I felt tears welling up.

“There will a bloodbath,” I said. “The two sides will attack each other, and nobody will be able to stop them. Things are at a critical stage. However much the police and the military continues to protest, the President won’t resign. He would not give up the job, the presidency. He would control the situation in any way he can, he has the authority.

“He will control it, but by then the bloodbath would have happened. This is very unhealthy. This shouldn’t happen.”

I began to cry. I couldn’t help it. My father consoled me. He stayed with me for a while, gave me encouragement. I just sat around at home then. Around 11:00 Rishwan called me on my wife’s phone. He wanted me to come to the police {HQ]. I asked why.

“You are being sought here. You must come,” Rishwan said.

“Is it wise for me to be there?” I asked.

“Judging from the current situation, I doubt things would get worse from now on. From what I know, there’s talk of the President stepping down”, he said.

Should I go, or should I stay? I mulled it over.

“I can’t go by myself. Send someone for me,” I decided. A vehicle was arranged. I shaved, splashed some water over me, changed, and waited. Soon three or four police lads were at my house. I went with them in their vehicle.

The scene you witness maybe of my hand being shaken as I walked in then. First I went to the Republic Square. There were some people — I don’t know who. They were police — on a vehicle. I am reluctant to name names because I don’t know for sure. I stayed long enough to have a look at what was happening, then went into the HQ.

There is a small sitting room beside the lift. There were people in the room, I noticed. I opened the door. I saw some members of the [National] Alliance. On seeing me, they offered me their hands to shake. I did that, then went upstairs.

I think I had a coffee in the mess room next, before going to the conference room downstairs. Some police officers, and again some members of the Alliance, were there. We had a discussion. That’s when I learnt the President had completely decided to resign.

Later, after the President resigned, things had calmed down, and the Alliance team had left, Fairoosh and I took leadership of the place. It was a policy decision — in order to enable the small and immediate changes necessary within the police and to maintain policy order. It was decided after discussing with the people present.

This is what can be seen and what can definitively be said about my involvement in the incident. The rest I know is information I have received from various people at various times from then till now. I can verify the authenticity of that secondary information. So I won’t talk about it.