Police cannot order MDP to vacate Usfasgandu, Civil Court rules

The Maldives Police Service does not have legal authority to order the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to vacate its ‘Usfasgandu’ protest camp on May 29, the Civil Court ruled today.

On May 29, police raided Usfasgandu with a search warrant from the Criminal Court and ordered the MDP to vacate the area before 10pm, after which the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) began dismantling the protest camp.

The Civil Court however issued an injunction ordering the security forces to halt the dismantling after the MDP challenged the legality of the operation. The injunction was to stand until the court reached a verdict and was later upheld by the High Court.

Police had obtained a warrant to search Usfasgandu on the grounds that the MDP was using the area as a hub for criminal activity and black magic.

Police alleged that people in the Usfasgandu area verbally abused police officers and damaged a police vehicle on April 20, obstructed a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) exercise on May 9, and that, on May 25 “MDP protesters threw a cursed rooster at MNDF officers.”

MDP lawyers however argued at court that the warrant did not provide a legal basis to dismantle the demonstration area.

Following the dismantling of the MDP’s protest camp at the tsunami memorial area on March 19, the Male’ City Council (MCC) leased the Usfasgandu area to the former ruling party for three months, prompting repeated attempts by the government to reclaim the area.

The MCC – which has nine MDP councillors and two government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) councillors – however refused to hand over the area to the Housing Ministry despite a cabinet decision authorising the Housing Ministry to reclaim the plot.

In its verdict today, the Civil Court noted that legal dispute between the MCC and Housing over guardianship of the Usfasgandu area could only be settled once the Civil Court reached a verdict on a separate case filed by the ministry requesting the MCC be ordered to hand over the plot.

As the MDP had a legally binding agreement with the MCC for use of the area, Judge Hathif Hilmy ruled that police could not infringe on the rights of the MDP as it was not party to the dispute between the MCC and the Housing Ministry.

Police therefore could not enforce the position of one party in a civil dispute without a court order as such an action would violate the constitutional rights of administrative fairness and equality (articles 17 and 20) of the other party.

Moreover, police could not infringe on the MDP’s right to use the leased land during its investigation of alleged criminal activity, Judge Hathif Hilmy ruled.

The Civil Court ruling today invalidated the police letter on May 29 ordering the MDP to vacate Usfasgandu or face confiscation of property.


Former CNI’s timeline proves coup d’etat: MDP

The timeline of events made public by the former Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) last week “proves that former Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik participated in the coup d’etat that took place on 7th February 2012,” the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said, calling on President Waheed to offer his resignation.

In a statement yesterday, the MDP contended that facts included in the CNI timeline proved Waheed’s involvement in the alleged coup and established that former President Mohamed Nasheed “was forced to resign under duress.”

The CNI timeline referred to representatives of the December 23 coalition meeting the then-vice president at 1am on 31 January, where they pledged allegiance to Dr Waheed and urged him to take control of the executive.

The MDP argued that Waheed’s assurance to the opposition leaders that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities was in violation of the constitution.

“Article 117(a) of the constitution states that the Vice President’s responsibilities are those which are delegated to him by the President,” the statement explained.

“Thus, when the Vice President met with opposition leaders plotting to overthrow the government and told them that he was ‘prepared to fulfill his constitutional duties’, these duties were in fact those delegated to him by the President. By participating in the government overthrow, Vice President Waheed clearly defied the mandate given to him by President Nasheed, and it is clear that Waheed’s actions were not in accordance with the Constitution.”

The CNI timeline acknowledged that police officers in uniform entered the MDP haruge around midnight on 7 February, the MDP statement noted, where they vandalised the premises and assaulted supporters inside the camp.

However, point 90 of the timeline stated that Vice President Waheed issued a statement via opposition media shortly after the attack on Haruge “characterising the police protest as peaceful, without condemning these violent actions.”

“In the statement the Vice President said: ‘I fully support the peaceful activity that many Maldivians are carrying out,'” the MDP statement noted.

The former ruling party observed that the timeline confirmed that “police were mutinying in Republic Square, which is an area where gatherings are prohibited, calling for the resignation of the President and senior officials of government.”

While the President, Home Minister, Defence Minister and Commissioner of Police were all advising the protesting police to vacate the square, the MDP noted that “the Vice President’s statement via the media encouraged them to carry on their rebellion.”

Moreover, points 158 through 166 of the CNI timeline stated that “the mutinying police and civilians were conducting an uninterrupted assault on the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force.”

Point 156 meanwhile acknowledged that police officers at the square charged and attacked MDP protesters on the morning of 7 February, resulting in “serious injuries” to party members.

Points 167 and 168 confirmed that weapons and shields from the police headquarters were distributed to civilians at the Republic Square, the MDP observed, which was “under the control of mutinying police and the civilians that had joined them.”

Moreover, point 207 stated that according to media reports, an announcement was made at the square that President Nasheed was detained inside the MNDF headquarters. Minivan News journalists at the scene on 7 February heard the announcement at about 10am.

The CNI timeline also referred to current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim emerging from the MNDF barracks to inform the crowd that he had demanded the “immediate and unconditional resignation” of the President, adding that the demand was “non-negotiable.”

Nazim, a retired colonel, was a civilian at the time.

“During all these events, point 170 of the timeline reveals that Vice President Mohamed Waheed did not go to the President’s Office despite it being an official government day and the day of the regular cabinet meeting,” the MDP observed.

The MDP statement went on to note that the timeline confirmed the presence of Nazim and current Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz inside the President’s Office after Nasheed was escorted there under heavy military guard, “despite having no official capacity or status.”

Points 236, 241, 242 and 244 of the timeline revealed that Nasheed’s resignation letter was not delivered to the Speaker of Parliament by official dispatch, the statement added.

Photos emerged on 7 February of Nazim and Riyaz carrying the resignation letter to parliament.

“The biggest revelation from the timeline released by the Commission of National Inquiry, and as proved by the points listed above, is that power changed hands on 7th February 2012 through a coup d’état conducted by the police and military with the support of opposition political leaders and Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed,” the MDP statement concluded.

“Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has repeatedly stated during meetings with diplomats and international partners that he would resign if it were proven that the events of 7th February 2012 were a coup d’état. Given these statements, the Maldivian Democratic Party calls on Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to offer his resignation.”

In an interview with the BBC last week, Dr Waheed said that should the CNI “find out that I had a role in bringing about a coup, then I would definitely resign.”

He however added, “But if I have no role – if somebody else has done it – it doesn’t mean I have to resign, according to the law of the Maldives.”

Contacted by Minivan News for a response to the MDP statement today, President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said the government had “no comment”.

Riza however noted that the MDP was “not an investigative body.”

Points noted by the MDP from the former CNI’s timeline:

  • Point 14: Vice President met with some leaders of the [Opposition] Coalition on the night of 30 January 2012 at Hilaaleege, his residence. He was asked at the meeting whether he was prepared to carry out his legal responsibilities. He said he was ready to do so. Coalition leaders held a press conference after the meeting to announce their endorsement of the Vice President [for President].
  • Point 17: Following Coalition discussions, protests began at Artificial Beach on 2 February 2012. At the protest, Adhaalath Party leader Imran Abdulla calls for police to arrest President Nasheed within five days [by 8 February].
  • Point 27: At the protests Adhaalath Party announces that its National Council had unanimously decided President Nasheed was not a worthy leader and had declared their full support for Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
  • Point 29: Home Minister asked Police Commissioner to remove police from the area where protests were being held.
  • Point 34: President Nasheed called the Commissioner a second time and ordered him to remove the police from the area, saying confidence in the police has been lost.
  • Point 41: When the military officers asked the police to leave the area, the Police Commander said they would not leave unless replacements arrive. President Nasheed phoned the Deputy Commissioner to say he was not adequately carrying out his responsibilities, and asked him to stay at home.
  • Point 47: On receiving the order from President Nasheed to have his officers removed from the area, the Male’ Area Commander considered the situation and, seeing the atmosphere as uneasy, gave the order for them to move to the Saw Mill area instead of the HQ. He thought they may have to return to the Artificial Beach soon if they left.
  • Point 113: When President Nasheed entered the main gates of Bandaara Koshi, he addressed some military officers gathered there and said police out there had mutinied and needed to be arrested. He then went inside and into the Defence Minister’s office.
  • Point 143: Suddenly, without consulting with the military, President Nasheed went to the Republic Square and began addressing the police. In addition to the bodyguards who accompanied him, Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Forces were with him. When he spoke, some MPs were also beside him.
    “I am still talking to the Maldivian police. I think you have done something wrong. I accept that given the way things happened you may not have properly realised what you were doing or where you were going. But, it is still my wish that you hand yourselves over to the police station or to the military. I assure you that I will not allow anything bad to happen to you.”
  • Point 144: Police refused to accept President Nasheed’s proposal to hand themselves over to the military.
  • Point 145: President Nasheed called over to him one of the policemen who he sent over to the military. When he called a second policeman, even though he came over, returned to sit with the police who had started protesting.
  • Point 156: As the police were finishing their recital, a group of MDP protesters holding hands approached the police from the back. Police and Coalition protesters confronted them and dispersed them. Several MDP people and police were injured during the attempts to stop the confrontation. Rumours spread among the police that one of their members had been stabbed in the neck with steel rod.
  • Point 158: When the noise outside the main gate area of Bandaar Koshi became very loud, members of the military who were waiting to meet with the president ran towards the main gate assuming that people were trying to force their way into the military headquarters.
  • Point 163: From here onwards police released a lot of gas. A large number of the military and public at Republic Square dispersed from the area as a result. The way the wind was blowing that day, all the gas travelled south towards Bandaar Koshi. Shortly afterwards, the police moved forward spraying tear gas as they approached. The police and the public threw at the military anything they could get their hands on. The confrontation on both sides was intense and the public, military and the police sustained varying degrees of injuries.
  • Point 164: Public and the police confronted the military and pushed them back as far as their main headquarters. As the military retreated, they were firing riot guns.
  • Point 165: Once most of the military on retreat had entered the headquarters, the main gates were shut. Some members of the military could not get in and had to remain outside.
  • Point 166: Police and public were throwing bottles and various other things in the whole area. Chairs and various other household equipment were also thrown onto the streets and into the Bandaara Koshi from within the building.
  • Point 167: Windows on the first floor of the military headquarters were opened and shields were distributed to military personnel and the public.
  • Point 168: All areas near the Republic Square were brought under police control. The area was under the supervision of the police and the public.
  • Point 170: Cabinet Secretariat notified all cabinet members via SMS, except Vice President, that the cabinet meeting was on that day. Although the Vice President’s secretariat was aware of the meeting, Dr Waheed did not receive the message. Two senior members of the Vice President’s secretariat did not report for work that day.
  • Point 207: Media reports reported members of the public at the Republic Square as saying President Nasheed had been arrested.
  • Point 210: After Abdulla Riyaz and Nazim conducted their negotiations inside Bandaara Koshi, Nazim emerged to address the Republic Square. He said he had made two proposals.
    “Assalaam alaikum. I hope everybody is okay. Yes, I have just met with the Defence Minister and all high-ranking military personnel and made a proposal of ours. The proposal was that the President should resign without condition. And, after that, to transfer all powers to the Vice President. Our second condition was that the Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and both his deputies resign at once. We told them these are non-negotiable conditions. These are not things up for further discussion. We assure the beloved Maldivians, military and police who are with us that, God willing, these things will happen this way by the deadline we have set for 1:30 today. When I entered the military headquarters I was given a very happy scene. Everyone within the military lifted me up and very completely revealed their support for me. God willing, things will happen today as we want. I ask the military, police and people to patiently remain with us.”
  • Point 228: Minister of Defence and National Security, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transport and Communication, Special Envoy to the President, Chief of Staff at the President’s Office, and Cabinet Secretary were in attendance [at the cabinet meeting].
  • Point 229: At the meeting the President said he had to resign and gave his reasons. He said under the circumstances he saw it best to resign.
  • Point 232: While he was at the Ghaazee Maalam, Nazim, Fayaz and Riyaz also came in.
  • Point 233: Nazim told President Nasheed that Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid had enquired after the resignation letter President Nasheed was sending to the Majlis.
  • Point 234: President Nasheed asked the Cabinet Secretary about the resignation letter who replied that it had not yet been prepared. The president asked him to bring a pen and paper. When the President’s official Letterhead paper and a pen were brought, President Nasheed wrote the resignation letter in his own hand and signed it. He was standing at a podium in the room.
  • Point 236: President Nasheed announced his resignation himself, in the presence of the cabinet members, in front of the media, live, at 12:57 p.m.
    “Beloved citizens of the Maldives. I see that if I were to continue as President of the Maldives a lot of harm may befall Maldivians and the Maldives. Therefore, as of today, I am resigning from the post of the President of the Maldives. I have never wanted to rule by force. I came to this decision because, in my opinion, I sincerely believe, that if this government is to be maintained, it would require the use of extreme force and cause harm to a lot of citizens. Also, in my opinion, if attempts are to be made to maintain this government, it is very likely that the Maldives will become susceptible to foreign influences. I have always wished the best for Maldivians and will continue to do so in the future. I have made the decision today to resign for the benefit of Maldivians, with sincere respect and keeping in mind the high levels of support Maldivians have shown me. I hope that Maldivians will see a more prosperous tomorrow and I pray our lives will be good now and in the hereafter.”
  • Point 241: Before he left, the military arranged a three-line strong cordon to reinforce security in the area.
  • Point 242: Riyaz and Nazim accompanied President Nasheed. Riyaz had the President’s resignation letter in his hand at the time.
  • Point 244: Speaker of the Parliament received President Nasheed’s resignation letter at 13:43.

MDP government’s intelligence learned of coup planning, claims report

Intelligence sources of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government had learned of the then-opposition’s plan to topple the government by soliciting “about 500 police officers” to protest in the Republic Square, according to an investigative report into the circumstances that led to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation “under duress” on February 7.

The report (Dhivehi), co-authored by former Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam and National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal, focuses on the former government’s intelligence information on planning for the alleged “coup d’etat” and “unlawful and criminal activities” of police and army officers in the events leading up to Nasheed’s resignation.

All the information included in the report came from “primary sources”, the authors insisted, including senior government officials and political figures as well as police and army officers. Other sources included media reports, eyewitness testimonies and publicly available video footage.

Speaking to Minivan News today, President’s Office Spokesperson said that the MDP’s decision to release a report that included the names of police and MNDF officers it accused of being involved in the alleged coup was an “act of terrorism”.

“Planning the coup”

The report alleged that in September 2011 council members of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) met with a retired Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) warrant officer (grade one), a retired brigadier general and a retired deputy police commissioner at the apartment of PPM council member Ahmed ‘Mars’ Saleem to discuss ways to topple the government.

At the meeting, the report stated, the retired warrant officer proposed that “the only way to change President Nasheed’s government” was for “about 500 police officers to come out and protest at the Republic Square”.

“During these discussions, when the retired deputy police commissioner gave assurances that it could be done, PPM interim deputy leader Umar Naseer raised doubts [about the possibility],” the report claimed.

However, following extensive discussions, “it was decided that work would begin on creating an atmosphere for [a police-led protest at Republic square].”

The report further claimed that the “December 23 coalition” of eight political parties and affiliated NGOs – which staged a mega-protest to “Defend Islam” from the alleged “securalisation agenda” of President Nasheed – was formed as a result of “a lengthy discussion” at the Adhaalath Party office between a prominent religious scholar and the aforementioned warrant officer.

The ‘mega-protest’ was meanwhile primarily funded by Jumhoree Party (JP) Leader and tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim, the report claimed.

While Umar Naseer attempted to march the December 23 demonstrators to overthrow the government, the report claimed, the plan was thwarted after some coalition members opposed the notion.

“When it could not be done that day, the organisers of the gathering on December 23 decided to hold a second mass demonstration in the name of ‘a symposium’ on February 24 to bring President Nasheed’s rule to an end through direct action,” the report stated.

The controversial detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed by the military on 16 January provided the opposition “a wide opportunity to redouble efforts to achieve the desired outcome of the mass ‘symposium’ planned for February 24.”


Meanwhile, the report alleged, efforts by the opposition to identify police and army officers to join the protest was underway “at a high speed” with ex-colonel Mohamed Nazim and ex-deputy commissioner Abdulla Riyaz entrusted with the task.

At the beginning of February 2012, the report revealed, government intelligence had learned of ties formed between elements of the police and military with the opposition.

The report alleged that “among those who pledged allegiance to [the opposition] were Brigadier General Ahmed Shiyam, Colonel Mohamed Nasheed, Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Raouf and Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed ‘Papa’ Fayaz.”

Moreover, intelligence learned that Brigadier General Ahmed Shiyam – presently the Chief of Defence Forces – held secret meetings with opposition figures, the report claimed.

Intelligence officers also reported that ex-colonel Nazim contacted senior military officers and middle-ranking officers at the time, “as a result of which information was received that some officers of the military’s marine corp pledged allegiance to him.”

Intelligence further learned that the officers in question were engaged in “inciting hatred” for President Nasheed among military personnel, eroding respect for the then-commander-in-chief and seeking additional recruits to their cause.

“Star Force” resurrected

The MDP’s report alleged that police officers involved in the planning for the coup were Assistant Commissioner Hussain Waheed, Chief Superintendent Abdulla Fairoosh, Chief Superintendent Hassan Habeeb, Chief Superintendent Ahmed Saudhy, Chief Inspector Abdulla Mannan Yousuf, Inspector Mohamed Dhaoud, Superintendent Ahmed Mohamed, Superintendent Mohamed Jamsheed, Sub-Inspector Azim Waheed and Special Operations (S.O) Inspector Shameem.

S.O Officers in particular were openly displaying contempt for President Nasheed and hatred of the government, the report claimed. The police S.O, formerly known as the “Star Force”, was created during President Gayoom’s reign to quell public demonstrations by the nascent MDP during the post-2003 reform movement.

The report revealed that disciplinary action was taken against an S.O officer found to have boasted to PPM MP Ahmed Mahlouf on 23 January about brutalising MDP protesters near MMA, vowing to “destroy MDP.”

Mahlouf confirmed the incident the following night at the protest, the report noted.

Disciplinary action was also taken against an officer who revealed riot police strength in a text message to Umar Naseer.

Moreover, intelligence learned that S.O officers were informing the opposition of “all of President Nasheed’s movements.”

The report also alleged that the S.O made no attempt to break up disruptive protests led by the opposition for 22 consecutive nights, which saw the central bank’s windows smashed, a minister’s house vandalised, trees uprooted and a police officer set on fire.

The report further noted remarks by Umar Naseer during the 22 nights of protest asking for 2,000 volunteers to storm army barracks with 50 ladders, at which point “the people inside will be with us.”

“From today onward, we will turn this protest into one that achieves results,” Umar had said. “We know how people overthrow governments. Everything needed to topple the government of this country is now complete.”

The report also referred to a meeting after midnight on 31 January between the then-vice president and representatives of the December 23 coalition, after which the opposition pledged allegiance to Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan and called on the security forces not to obey commands of President Nasheed.

Among the assurances sought by the opposition was for Dr Waheed to not resign “despite any pressure” and lead a national unity government until 2013.


MNDF “symbol of holiness of our nation”: President Waheed

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has pledged to improve the welfare of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) personnel and their families as part of commitments to strengthen the nation’s security forces.

Sections of the country’s police and defence forces have come under criticism during the last few months from opposition politicians and their supporters over the alleged role both institutions played in bringing the new government to power.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claims that Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected president, was removed under “duress” on February 7 by mutinous elements within the police and MNDF following weeks of protests across the capital of Male’ over the detention of a chief judge accused of corruption.

Despite the allegations, local media reported yesterday that President Waheed praised the ongoing role of the military in protecting the nation by land, sea and air.  His government was also said to have committed to “strengthen and develop” the role of security forces across the nation, claiming that a “large majority” of the public supported the military’s work on the transfer of power on February 7.

“MNDF is our country’s protective shield. They are the symbol of holiness of our nation. So every child who loves God and this country should be proud of the valuable services of MNDF,” Sun Online reported President Waheed as saying.

Aside from national defence, the MNDF is also charged with overseeing the nation’s fire-fighters and coastguard.

Last week, Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig said the MNDF’s southern command had been “very supportive” during the last few years in helping to maintain water supplies to the region amidst concerns over shortages.

“Ongoing process”

The President’s Office told Minivan News today that government commitments to strengthen the MNDF were actually an ongoing process put in place in 2008 to decentralise the military into four regional command structures.

The government also claimed that scrutiny of the role played by the military during February’s controversial transfer of power represented a “minority view” of the public at large.

President Waheed’s latest commitments to bolster the military were made during a speech delivered to graduates of the MNDF’s 57th basic training course.

The speech discussed the expansion of the military throughout the country with the establishment of four area commands designed to try and bring its services “closer to the people.”

Dr Waheed also talked of the three major principles he believed were the foundation of a “true soldier”: staying firm to Islamic principles, providing selfless national service and maintaining the rule of law, according to the President’s Office.  To this end, the president urged soldiers during the graduation ceremony to stand by their oaths, “loyally and unwaveringly”.

President’s Office spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said that the president’s comments were made in relation to an “ongoing process” of reforming the military started back in 2008.

“Under the constitution we have been implementing a process of decentralisation with these four commands, such as with the northern command and southern command. The president’s comments were based on these same commitments,” he said.

Last month however, former President Mohamed Nasheed criticised the present government of having “squandered” funds assigned for development and healthcare on direct payments to police and military officers.

“More than Rf 150 million (US$10 million) has been spent on police promotions. Another Rf 150 million (US$10 million) has been spent giving MNDF [Maldives National Defense Force] officers two years of allowances in a lump sum,” he said at the time.

“Another Rf 50 million (US$3.3 million) has been spent repairing the damage to police headquarters. It was the police officers who staged the coup who vandalised the place and threw chairs and computers from the building’s windows. When this money has been wasted, we cannot accept it when they say there is no money for [the Aasandha health scheme].”

Constitutional role

However, Abbas rejected accusations that sections of the MNDF had helped overthrow the Nasheed government, claiming that soldiers acted as was required of them under the constitution.

“A minority may hold a particular view about the security forces, but the majority of the pubic maintain the belief that the MNDF are the defenders of our nation. There is not division within the public concerning the military’s role” he claimed. “President Waheed has yesterday continued to state that he will not be asking the MNDF to follow an unconstitutional orders.”


“Government cannot be hijacked by taking over army headquarters”: MDP protest enters day five

The government of the Maldives can no longer be “hijacked” by taking over the army headquarters and arresting or assassinating the incumbent ruler as in centuries past, deposed President Mohamed Nasheed said on Sunday night.

Addressing supporters on the third night of the ongoing Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ‘Journey to Justice’ protest, Nasheed explained that “the days when this country was ruled by the might of the forearm has been relegated to the past.”

“What we are seeing today is that the Maldivian people will not idly sit by and watch the flame of freedom flicker out,” he said.

He added that taking control of the army headquarters to assume executive power was “an outdated and antiquated way of thinking” in the 21st century.

“The secret or essence behind this is that the government of this country is not the property of the ruler,” he continued. “The government of this country belongs to its people. It can only be stolen from the people after arresting all of them or when there are no longer any people left in this country.”

A Maldivian government could no longer rule over the populace without their consent and respect, he added.

“The days when the Maldivian people could be beaten into submission with electric batons, pepper spray or sticks are long past,” he asserted, adding that “most Maldivians value freedom and despise brutality.”

Nasheed expressed concern with the continued arrest and detention of elected councillors and MDP supporters across the country.

In contrast to fiery speeches by MDP MPs threatening to march the crowd to “reclaim what was stolen,” Nasheed insisted that violent confrontations or the use of force would not be necessary.

He went on to congratulate the protesters for “showing an example to the world” of a peaceful demonstration.

“Shedding a single drop of blood from any Maldivian” would be unacceptable, he added, advising protesters to act “with wisdom and patience.”

Nasheed also urged speakers who take the stage to not abuse the right to free expression by using indecent or “obscene language” or resorting to personal attacks.

Day four

On the following night, former TV presenter Miqdad Adam hosted a panel discussion with former ministers Hassan Latheef and Hassan Afeef along with lawyer Ahmed Abdulla Afeef focusing on the legal issues surrounding the transfer of power.

Hassan Afeef,  former home minister, explained that the coup started with “rebelling or mutinying officers” refusing to obey orders from the former Commissioner of Police and his deputies on the night of February 6.

Shortly before beginning their protest at the Republic Square in the early hours of February 7, a rogue group of riot police attacked the MDP Haruge (headquarters), assaulted former State Minister for Home Affairs, Mohamed ‘Monaza’ Naeem and ransacked the place.

According to eyewitnesses, a police officer hit an elderly man on the head with a chair. Haruge was attacked for a second time after a group of soldiers and police assisted by gang members took over the state broadcaster.

Afeef added that a number of army officers also refused to obey orders from either the Commander-in-Chief or Chief of Defence Forces Brigadier General Moosa Ali Jaleel.

If police officers believed they were given an unlawful order, Afeef continued, they should complain through the proper channels.

Afeef noted that current Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and State Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Fayaz ‘FA’ had “no legal status” to enter army barracks, negotiate on behalf of the mutinying police or relay demands to President Nasheed.

Local media reported on the morning of February 7, between 10am and 11am, ex-Colonel Nazim addressing the crowd and informing them that President Nasheed had been told to “immediately and unconditionally resign” before 1.30pm.

Afeef claimed that Nazim told President Nasheed that “his life could be in danger” if he refused to comply with demands from mutinying police and army officers.

Former Youth Minister Hassan Latheef referred to opposition politicians meeting then-Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed at 1:00am at his official residence following a night of roving protests.  He added that Dr Waheed evaded questions from cabinet members the next day.

Lawyer Ahmed Abdulla Afeef meanwhile criticised Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz for administering the oath of office on February 7 without looking into whether President Nasheed resigned under duress or not.

Ahmed also noted that the resignation letter was snatched by “the three men with no legal status” who entered the President’s Office with a number of army officers and took the letter to parliament.

Calling for an independent inquiry, Ahmed argued that compromising President Nasheed’s volition or discretion at any point of the process would render the resignation unlawful.

The former ministers also contended that opposition parties resorted to a violent takeover because they were convinced MDP would have won the 2013 presidential election based on delivery of campaign pledges, such as free universal healthcare, housing programmes and a nationwide transport network.