Criminal Court declines to issue warrant for police to dismantle MDP campsite at ‘Usgandu’

The Criminal Court has said it cannot issue a warrant to police to dismantle the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest camp site at ‘Usgandu’, after deciding the matter was not within its jurisdiction.

The Criminal Court said it had studied the documents presented by the police along with the court warrant request form, and decided that the warrant was not within its capacity to grant.

Police have said they are now studying the  further to decide what action to take over the ‘Usgandu’ issue. The site, which had been granted to the MDP by Male’ City Council, was recently reclaimed by the Housing Ministry which then ordered police to evict the MDP protesters.

Meanwhile, local media has reported that Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz has sent a letter to MDP Acting Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik asking him to come to the Housing Ministry at 5:00pm on Wednesday  to discuss the issue and find a peaceful solution.

The Housing Minister told the media that ‘Usgandu’ was now under the auspices of the Ministry and that the MDP would have to communicate with the ministry in an matter anything concerning the area.

Police applied for a court warrant on Monday after the Home Ministry police to dismantle the ‘Usgandu’ and return the land to the Housing Ministry, following a cabinet decision.

Moosa Manik subsequently claimed that if police dismantled the MDP protest camp at Usgandu, protests would erupt all across Male’.

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, Male’ City Council allocated the empty area near the tsunami monument to the MDP, which set up a protest camp at the site.

However on March 19, hours after President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik delivered his inaugural speech to the parliament, security forces raided the area, dismantled the camp and painted over anti-government graffiti, removing all trace of the MDP from the area.

Male’ City Council subsequently granted Usgandu to the MDP to conduct their political activities until the end of June. The MDP has meanwhile filed a case in the Civil Court contesting the dismantling of the tsunami monument, a case was today suspended on an order from the High Court.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has recently stated that the government had “better things to do than dismantling MDP protest campsites.”


MNDF refuses to present Yameen on court order

The Maldives National Defece Force (MNDF) has today declined to obey a court warrant issued by the Criminal Court to summon People’s Alliance (PA) Leader and MP Abdulla Yameen, who was taken to Aarah island this morning at dawn by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) reportedly “for his own protection”.

Police were compelled to used force to restrain ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists outside Yameen’s house last night. Shortly afterwards, both police and protesters were showered with rocks an other projectiles by people from nearby buildings, injuring many. Police used tear gas while the MNDF deployed an armoured car to contain the incident.

Yameen was taken to the Presidential Retreat ‘Aarah’ to provide assistance and protection to him upon his request, according to the MNDF.

The MP and high-profile businessman was recently summoned for questioning by police concerning charges of bribery and treason. After a series of court hearings regarding the legality of his arrest and detention, along with Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Gasim Ibrahim, the Supreme Court ruled he be released from house arrest.

However the government yesterday indicated that it was unwilling to drop the matter, and was monitoring judges for signs of corruption.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said the MNDF had refused to the court warrant to summon Yamin “because the MNDF does not believe it was a lawful order issued by the court.’’

‘’He requested the MNDF provide security and protection for him,’’ said Zuhair. “He told the MNDF that he wished to leave Male’ and stay on another island.’’

Zuhair said Yameen had attempted to stay on an island in Alifu Atoll but the MNDF took him to Aarah island “because MNDF knows where they can provide him best protection.”

‘’It was the [opposition] who sparked the riot last night,” Zuhair claimed. “At first it was just a peaceful assembly, but some people tried to attack the president. A group of people ran towards him to attack him, but his bodyguards confronted them.’’

Zuhair said MDP supporters gathered outside Yameen’s house following the attack, alleging he was the person behind the attack.

‘’When MDP supported gathered near Yameen’s house, people in the nearby buildings threw pavement blocks down at them. It proves that they were ready for violence,’’ he said.

PA Secretary General Ibrahim Shareef said everyone should follow an order of the court.

‘’We will not accept this,’’ Shareef said. ‘’If everyone uses their power anyway they want, there is no use for laws and regulations.’’

Shareef claimed that the MNDF took Yameen against his will, and not by request.

‘’They took him after the riot was controlled and when everything was over,’’ Shareef claimed.

Major Abdul Raheem said he did not have detailed information regarding the case, and recommended Minivan News contact Attorney General Husnu Suood.

Suood did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.