Hithadhoo man beaten to death in custody allege family, friends

A 20 year-old man from Hithadhoo died in police custody early Friday morning, after he and a 24 year-old man were arrested in a drug-related case.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the two men were arrested in a hospital toilet on Veymandoo in Thaa Atoll, allegedly in possession of drugs, and confirmed that Abdulla Basith Zubair later died in custody.

Basith’s family, including his mother, brother and best friend, were fighting back tears as they explained they were in “deep shock”, but said they had to prepare for his body to be brought home. In Muslim tradition the dead must be buried the same day they die.

“It is really upsetting, I am in deep shock,” Basith’s friend said. “We are bringing the body home now. He was beaten by the cops because they say he had drugs. They say it was an overdose, but he was beaten black and blue. There is no justice for us. They will not investigate. I can’t believe my best friend is dead.”

Another second friend, who attended Hithadhoo school with Basith, said “This is very sad news, he was a very good person with a good heart. I am in shock. His friend saw everything, [Basith] was brutally beaten. It’s murder!”

Basith brother was busy arranging the funeral. Townsfolk were gathered outside the family home to pay respects to the young man.

Sub-Inspector Shiyam said police were investigating the incident. The Police Integrity Commission and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) had been informed, he added.


Dispute over delay in medical help for dead Maafushi inmate

Concern has been raised about the delay in medical treatment given to an inmate in Maafushi jail, who died in custody yesterday.

The Director General of the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS), Mohamed Rasheed, said Hassan Ahmed, from Gan Mukuri Magu of Laamu atoll, died of a heart attack.

Rasheed said the 29 year old had been jailed for 25 years for using and selling drugs, but ”was a trusted and good man who was selected to work as jail staff.”

”We got a report at 2:00pm and our jail officers attended to him after four to five minutes,” he said, adding that Hassan was taken to the prison’s doctor immediately.

“He did not have any recorded medical conditions, and had just come back from work to pray and have lunch.”

However a source familiar with the matter told Minivan News that the jail officers only attended to the man two hours after they were informed about the incident.

The source also claimed that Hassan had informed the jail officers at 12:24pm, before noon prayers, that he had been having chest pains since breakfast, although by then it was not severe.

”But after the noon prayers his pain got more serious, so [the inmates] knocked on the gates and shouted. Police officers attended after some time, and [the inmates] told them about the man and they replied that the doctor had gone for lunch,” the source said.

”Nobody can stop a man from dying, but they could have treated him. They did not take it seriously, they even had the time to take him Male’,” he added.

He said Hassan was dead by the time the officers arrived at 2:10pm to transfer him, and criticised the DPRS and TVM for reporting that jail officers had attended “very quickly.”

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ilham Ahmed said ”We are very disappointed that again someone died [in custody] after the death of Mohamed Nooz.”

Rumours around the circumstances of Nooz’s death sparked a protest outside MDNF headquarters and the president’s residence on 28 January.

Ilham claimed he had received information that Hassan had died after reporting a serious pain in his chest since that morning, and ”nobody cared to give him even a single paracetamol tablet.”

Ilham also said he had received information from Maafushi jail that ”the police did not follow procedure; they have to check the dead body and take photographs.”

Hassan was buried last night. Rasheed said a letter had been sent to his parents asking if they would like a post mortem examination conducted. Hassan’s family had not yet responded to the letter, Rasheed said.