“Crime is more important than party” says PPM, after suspected cop killer is revealed to be member

The crime is more important than the political party the criminal is from, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has said during a press conference, after it was revealed that the suspect arrested in connection to the murder of Lance Corporal Adam Haleem murder is a registered member of the party.

In the wake of police officer’s murder, government-aligned parties including PPM and cabinet ministers have vociferously blamed the ousted former President Mohamed Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for the murder, claiming that MDP’s ongoing protests against the police in the capital Male’ provoked the attack on Kaashidhoo island.

The MDP have held consecutive demonstrations since the controversial resignation of former President Nasheed on February 7, who contends that he was forced to do so “under duress” amid a police and military-backed coup.

The protests often have led to multiple arrests and violent clashes between the security forces and protesters, with rising concerns of police brutality, torture and human rights violations.

However, in response to the accusations, the MDP released a photo of the arrested suspect Mohamed Samaah, 22, and a screenshot of the Elections Commission’s party registry showing him listed as a member of the PPM.

Local media reports said that Samaah, from Suvaasaage of Kaashidhoo, has a multiple criminal records including drug, assault and theft.

PPM’s Council Member Ahmed Saleem today contended at a press conference that “Party is not important. What’s important is the crime committed by the criminal,” after a reporter asked him to verify the claim.

“We have also heard people say that he is from PPM. But we have not checked if it’s true. The reality is that MDP members have been registered under other parties by mistake,” Saleem added.

“But, whatever party [the suspect] is from, no police officer or citizen should be attacked,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the MDP has also alleged that the suspect was a key supporter of Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdullah Jabir, who won the Kaashidoo constituency in the recent by-election with official endorsement from PPM.

The MDP  today released another photo with the suspect allegedly standing next to Jabir, while JP leader Gasim Ibrahim is seen nearby giving a speech.

Jabir’s wife Dhiyana Saeed, the newly-appointed Minister for Gender and Human Rights, is also pictured in the image.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Jabir rejected any possible links between the suspect and his party, accusing the MDP and media sources including Minivan News of propagating false rumours.

“This suspect has nothing to do with the JP,” he said.

Conversely Jabir said that the suspect had actually been working with MDP candidates at local elections, as well as being mentioned in a police report at the time for attacking a member of the JP’s own campaign personnel.

“There is evidence of this and reports of the incident with the Kashidoo police.  Anyone can check this,” he added.