MDP’s report into February 7 “illegal act of terrorism”: President’s Office

The government has described a report (Dhivehi) released by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) into the controversial change of power on February 7 as an “act of terrorism”.

The MDP released its report in counter to the timeline released last week by the three-member panel of the initial Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which it had boycotted on grounds that the panel lacked credibility and independence. Facing pressure from the Commonwealth, the government had agreed to recompose the panel to include a nominee of former President Nasheed, a retired foreign judge, and UN and Commonwealth monitors.

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza 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”, and called on the authorities to take action.

“The report is illegal and an act of terrorism. They can’t reveal the names of officers of the security forces like that and threaten their families,” he said, demanding criminal prosecution.

Asked about the allegations made in the report and whether the government would look into them, Riza responded: “I am saying it is illegal to release such a report, so whatever is mentioned in it is not something we are interested in looking into.”

Asked if the government intended to take action against the MDP, Abbas said “the security services will decide on the matter.”

The report was co-authored by two cabinent ministers during Nasheed’s administration: the former Minister of Housing and Environment Mohamed Aslam and former National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal.

The authors claimed that the report was composed on fact and that no information had been included that lacked a primary source.

The report was released in a ceremony held at Male’ City Council hall by the former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Speaking during the ceremony, former President Nasheed said that the authorities should look into the findings in the report, which highlights the actions of the police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officials on February 7, and who should be tried in the courts of law.

He further alleged that the perpetrators behind the ‘coup’ were political figures in opposition parties during his administration.

“This report very clearly states the names of those who were involved, and the roles they have played are stated in detail. I hope that the institutions of the state will look into it,” said Nasheed

He added that the report clearly underlines that the toppling of the government was illegitimate, and announced that the MDP would launch peaceful demonstrations and protests to ensure  the findings in the report were looked into.

“The report reveals that during September 2011, the intelligence services and several other sources received information that opposition political figures had begun to collect the information of about 500 officers in the police and the military who were willing to help topple the government. So they have been planning this since last September,” alleged Nasheed.

He said that it was an obligation of the MDP to the people of the Maldives to ensure that the authorities took action on the findings of the report, even if that meant the launch of demonstrations.

Speaking during the ceremony, Interim Chairperson of MDP, MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik said now that the report very clearly stated that the MDP government was toppled in a coup, and the MDP would not remain silent on the matter.

People deserve to know the truth: authors

One of the two co-authors of the report, Mohamed Aslam, stated that people across the country were talking about the transfer of power on February 7 and that “people deserved to know the truth”

He claimed that the reason behind releasing the report was to let the people know what really happened after the initial three member panel of the CNI has attempted to mislead the people about the happenings of the events, by releasing a timeline that lacked truth.

Aslam said that the timeline issued by the CNI lacked several key facts, which he alleged had been deliberately omitted.

“We found that the toppling of the government was  the results of days of planning and discussions by several people,” he said.

Aslam alleged that those involved in planning the coup included several political figures, some media outlets, certain religious scholars and business tycoons in the country.

“They used the some police officers and MNDF officers to execute their plan,” he said.

Aslam also alleged that while Nasheed was inside the MNDF barracks, the rebelling officers tried to make Nasheed and the generals loyal to him believe that they had no control over the military, with units resorting to brutal violence outside the barracks committing several criminal offences inside police headquarters.

“Those involved in the coup believe that these events were carried out by a lot of people, and that they are protected by a large group of people, and therefore are safe. That is not going to be possible. This is not the same Maldives as years ago,” he told.

Aslam further claimed that some of the police and military officials who were against the coup were willing to give evidence in a court if deemed necessary.

Co-author of the report, Ameen Faisal said they collected information from several police officers of different ranks, and thanked the officers for their cooperation in formulating the report.

He expressed hope that those officers would also reveal the truth to the new CNI formed with the support of the Commonwealth, and followed fellow co-author Aslam in alleging that the timeline released by the initial three member panel of the CNI “lacked a lot of information”.

The report claimed that the genesis of the coup began during a meeting held in September 2011, between a dismissed MNDF warrant officer (grade 1), a retired brigadier general, a retired deputy police commissioner and some of the council members of former President Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), allegedly in an apartment owned by PPM Council Member Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem.

“We always planned on toppling Nasheed’s government” – Umar Naseer

PPM Interim Vice President Umar Naseer has meanwhile admitted to local media that he had always been planning to topple Nasheed’s government since the new President was sworn in on November 11, 2008, following the country’s first democratic multiparty elections.

“From 12 November 2008, we were planning on a way to bring down Nasheed’s government. We talked to anybody who we felt was necessary. We talked on the podiums, the media. But we attempted to do that within the norms of the constitution,” He told local newspaper Haveeru.

He also said that at the end of the day, they had succeed in ousting Nasheed “within the boundaries of the constitution”.

Responding to the report, Naseer further said that the “biggest problem” of Nasheed’s administration was that he had been giving illegal orders to the security forces of the country, and that the opposition parties were giving the security officers the message to not to obey those orders.

“When Nasheed locked up the Supreme Court using the police, I said that it was an illegal order. I said that arresting Abdulla Yameen and Gasim Ibrahim was carried out through an illegal order. The police have the right to not obey to illegal orders under the constitution. That is a new right entitled in the green constitution [the new constitution ratified on August 2008],” he said.

“All I did was tell the police and the MNDF that there was this right entitled in the constitution,” Naseer said.

According to Haveeru, Naseer also admitted that accusations in the report that he had attempted to hold a large demonstration right after the conclusion of the “Save Islam’ rally on December 23 2011, were true.

“They did not want that [to hold demonstrations]. But even that night, we would have toppled Nasheed’s government from the street ‘constitutionally’,” he said.

Naseer in an interview given to the SBS dateline program “Mutiny in Maldives” in February explained in English what happened from the perspective of the opposition demonstrators on February 7.

“We had a small command centre where we do all the protests. I command from the centre and give instructions to my people. On the protesters’ side, we were informing and educating the police and army through our speeches and television programs,” Naseer told at the time.

Asked by journalist Mark Davis if the opposition had made any other inducements, such as promises that they and their families would be “looked after” if they switched sides, Naseer said “there were”.

“We called on the army and police and said that if a person was fired from his position because of their refusal to follow an unlawful order, the opposition would take care of them,” Naseer said.

“I had told Nasheed to resign, and that I was afraid for his life – because if Nasheed came out of the headquarters, people might beat him on the streets,” Naseer said.

Minivan News tried contacting Naseer, but he did not respond at time of press.