Gassan summoned to Criminal Court

The Criminal Court has summoned Gassan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, after his lawyers Aishath Azima Shukoor and Mohamed Waheed filed a case against the police claiming that his arrest Monday morning was unlawful.

Gassan was arrested and taken to Dhoonidhoo police custodial this morning after he allegedly dropped a large piece of wood on Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protesters gathered near his house on Thursday.

Today in court Gassan’s lawyers claimed that the arrest was unlawful and violated the Supreme Court’s procedure on arresting persons.

However, the police have submitted witness statements and evidence to court, and requested an extension of detention for further investigation.

Last Thursday 17 year-old Hussein Hassan was critically injured by a piece of wood while he was inside a group of MDP members protesting against manipulation of the judiciary by members of the former government. A spokesperson for Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) later said his condition had stabilised.

MDP supporters alleged that Gassan had dropped the piece of wood that hit Hassan, while supporters of the former Presdient’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) claimed it was thrown by MDP supporters.

PPM supporters gathered near the Criminal Court today calling for the immediate release of Gassan.

Protesters also attempted to break through police lines and enter the court area. However, leading PPM figures controlled the protesters and asked them to be quiet until the hearing had concluded.

Police today blocked the roads to the Criminal Court and have maintained control of the whole area.

The hearing started at 4:00pm this afternoon and was still continuing four hours later.


MDP calls for justice for 17-year-old injured outside Endherimaage

The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has condemned “the uncivilised, cowardly and inhumane attack” on 17-year-old Hussein Hassan, Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo Semy, who was struck on the head with a wooden plank allegedly thrown from Maafanu Endherimaage, residence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

An MDP protest against the judiciary last Thursday turned violent outside Endherimaage after the 17-year-old was injured from the object, which eyewitnesses claimed was hurled from the second floor balcony of the building while the protesters led by MDP MPs and senior officials were passing below.

In a press statement released today by the MDP parliamentary group, the ruling party said the left side of the boy’s brain was not properly functioning and he could not recall past memories as a result of the injury.

“The Maldivian Democratic Party urges all relevant authorities of the state to bring everyone who took part in this lowly, inhumane act to justice,” it reads. “MDP will be watching how the investigation is progressing very closely and the party would like to assure the family of the injured boy as well as our members that we will take all necessary legal action in this case.”

Minivan News journalists at the scene on Thursday observed gravel, stones, hot water and sharp metals raining down on the protesters from Endherimaage.

The protest quickly turned violent after the boy was rushed to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) by MDP MPs on a passing pickup near Athena cinema. MDP activists threw rocks at Endherimaage, smashed a window and attacked Gayoom supporters blocking the entrance.

Speaking at the MDP Haruge Friday night, former Chairwoman Mariya Ahmed Didi, who was in the front line of the protest march, said the wooden plank that injured the boy was with the police.

“They still haven’t apologised to the people for this,” she said. “This happened in broad daylight from that house [Endherimaage].”

Meanwhile, MDP MP Mohamed Musthafa called on Home Minister Hassan Afeef to resign from his post claiming the Home Ministry and law enforcement agencies were “failed institutions.”

“A wooden door was dropped from the building where former President was living, and Gassam Maumoon was summoned to the police headquarters and was allowed to walk away freely,” Musthafa said. “Letting him get away with it has showed us that the police and the Home Ministry has failed.”

Musthafa, who beat the former President’s son to win the Thimarafushi seat in a re-vote ordered by the High Court, alleged that Gassan was arrested in the UK for a hit-and-run accident where a British citizen died.

“There should be no protection or immunities for any son or daughter of former president because all of them are above 18,” Musthafa said. “Hassan Afeef was afraid of former President, he fears that he might lose his job or something.”

After Musthafa circulated a text message to MPs and Police Commissioner calling for Afeef’s “immediate resignation,”  he said Afeef later sent him a text saying “get lost.”

Afeef told Minivan News today that did not wish to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, local daily Haveeru reports that according to the former President’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim ‘Wadde’, Gassan has been sent a summons chit to appear at the police headquarters at 10:00am tomorrow for further questioning.

Waheed claimed the wooden plank that injured the 17-year-old was thrown by an MDP protester.

After responding to the first summons, Gassan Maumoon told reporters outside police headquarters Saturday afternoon that he exercised the right to remain silent after “it appeared from some of their questions that they were accusing me.”


Police summon Gassan Maumoon for questioning

Police summoned Gassan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for questioning today concerning disturbances outside his residence Endherimaage on Thursday during a protest by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

A 17-year-old boy was struck on the head with a wooden plank allegedly thrown from Endherimaage while protesters led by MDP MPs, councillors and senior members were marching by the former President’s residence.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News today that Gassan was among a number of people police were questioning regarding Thursday’s events.

Police were investigating complaints of damage caused to the former President’s property as well as the injury caused to the 17-year-old, Shiyam explained.

Police had received information that suggests the wooden plank that injured the 17-year-old was hurled or dropped from the building, he said.

However, said Shiyam, police could not divulge further details at this stage of the investigation.

Minivan News journalists at the scene on Thursday observed gravel, stones, hot water and sharp metals raining down on the protesters from Endherimaage. A number of reporters at the scene were also hit by the pouring gravel.

MDP protest October 20Several MDP activists claimed that the wooden plank was hurled from the second floor balcony of Endherimaage. After the victim was rushed to hospital by MPs on the front line of the march, MDP activists clashed with Gayoom supporters blocking the entrance to Endherimaage and threw stones at the building, smashing a window on the first floor.

MP Ali Waheed, who defected to the ruling party in May, told state broadcaster MNBC that the boy was behind MP Alhan Fahmy when the object struck him straight on the head.

The 17-year-old, identified as Hussein Hassan, was rushed to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) by the MPs on a passing pick-up, he said.

Speaking to MNBC One outside IGMH, Waheed displayed blood stains on his shirt resulting from the head injury caused by the impact.

Other eyewitnesses who spoke to the state broadcaster corroborated the MPs’ account of the incident.

The brother of the injured boy told Minivan News Thursday night that according to doctors “his skull was damaged and parts of the skull have gone inside his brain.”

The boy underwent surgery to remove wood particles from his brain.

IGMH media coordinator confirmed today that the boy was conscious and his “condition is now stable.”

The spokesperson refuted media reports that the boy’s left side was paralyzed. “His left side is very weakened, but that is not paralysis,” she explained.

A family member outside the ICU told Minivan News that the family was certain the object that struck Hussein Hassan “came from above.”

“Everyone who was there said that that was how it happened,” he said.

Right to remain silent

Gassan Maumoon meanwhile told reporters outside police headquarters this afternoon that he exercised the right to remain silent after “it appeared from some of their questions that they were accusing me.”

Gassan was accompanied by the former President’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ and former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor.

The former President’s newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) held a protest at artificial beach last night in response to the ruling party’s “intimidation of judges.”

Hundreds of supporters participated in the protest, where they called for the resignation of Chief of Defence Forces Moosa Jaleel and Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh for failing to provide security to the former President.

Asked by MP Ilham Ahmed if they should march to the presidential residence Muleeage, the protesters unanimously supported the notion.

PPM Interim Council Member Umar Naseer – former deputy leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party – however announced around 10:45pm that the protest march was to be cancelled after police sent a summons to Gassan.

Meanwhile, after text messages were circulated on Friday claiming the PPM was preparing to attack and “smash Haruge [MDP camp],” a large number of ruling party supporters gathered at Haruge for a hastily arranged rally at 9pm last night.

Speakers at the rally, including Presidential Commission Spokesperson Abdulla Haseen, President’s Advisor Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail, MP Ahmed Easa and former Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad, severely criticised the judiciary for lack of competence and integrity.

An egg was thrown into Haruge during Ibra’s speech.

In an interview with private broadcaster DhiTV shortly after Thursday’s protest turned violent, Gayoom claimed that damage was caused to his residence and adjoining houses in “a terrorist attack” orchestrated by the government.

“They came with their activists and attacked my home,” Gayoom said. “They attacked nearby houses as well.”

Moosa Jaleel and Ahmed Faseeh should “personally bear responsibility” for the damage to his residence because riot police were not present to intercede, the PPM figurehead said.

Appearing on private broadcaster VTV later that night, Gayoom said he would file criminal complaints with police, the Prosecutor General and pursue civil action against the protesters.


Gayoom not invited to SAARC for precedent, allegations

The Maldivian government will not invite former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to the upcoming SAARC summit, to be held in Addu City and Fuvahmulah between November 10-11.

According to local media, Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem yesterday said the allegations against Gayoom of “killing people” and “torture” made it difficult for the government to extend an invitation.

“LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] leader Prabhakaran wasn’t invited to previous SAARC summits because of such allegations against him. So it’s hard for me to do it,” Naseem said earlier on MNBC One.

Local police are currently investigating Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon, for the violent turnout of a protest by ruling party MDP on Thursday, October 20.

Former heads of state are not routinely invited to SAARC summits.


Z-DRP launch blood donation drive

The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) Zaeem-faction launched a blood donation drive dubbed “DRP’s blue blood for the nation” yesterday as part of celebratory activities to mark the party’s sixth anniversary.

The Z-faction’s spokesperson Mohamed “Mundhu” Hussein Shareef told newspaper Haveeru that a large number of people, including politicians and MPs, have participated in the programme.

The programme was undertaken by the party’s Youth Wing, led by Gassan Maumoon, in collaboration with the Maldives Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) and is taking place at the NGO’s office building.

Mundhu added that over 200 people had registered to participate so far.


Presidential Commission investigating alleged car accident in UK involving former President’s son

The Presidential Commission (PC) is investigating alleged misuse of state funds following an alleged car accident involving former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon, in Liverpool, England.

PC Spokesperson Abdulla Haseen told Minivan News today that an investigation commenced “some time ago” based on complaints and requests to look into the longstanding allegations.

“We are not saying whether it happened or not,” he stressed. “We are looking into it to determine the truth or falsehood of the allegations. We are now receiving assistance from authorities in the UK.”

He added that the PC could not reveal which authorities in England were aiding the investigation “for fear of possible interference.”

“The allegation is that there was an accident involving Gassan in Liverpool where a person was killed,” he explained, “and that state funds were illegally transferred out of the country.”

Asked if the money in question was used to post bail, Haseen said “that’s one of the things we are looking into.”

The PC spokesperson said that he could not divulge further details at this stage of the investigation.

Speaking to Minivan News, Mohamed Waheed “Wadde,” lawyer for Gayoom’s family, said that Gassan has decided to sue Haseen personally for defamation.

“We are not suing because of the investigation,” he explained. “The investigation should go ahead. We are not suing the commission. Instead we are filing a case against Haseen personally for spreading deliberate falsehoods without any proof to back it up.”

He added that the legal team had “audio of Haseen saying Gassan killed a person.”

Haseen however said that he was “confident” of defending himself in court against the defamation charges.

“If they feel anyone’s rights were violated, they are free to sue, there is no problem with that,” he said. “But what I was surprised by was their claim that the allegations were made by me personally.”

Haseen contended that his statements in the media were made in his capacity “as an employee of a lawfully formed institution.”

“All I said was that we are looking into the allegations and that an investigation is ongoing,” he said. “I didn’t say Gassan killed anyone or paid to cover it up.”

Waheed meanwhile said that the defamation case would be filed at court “next week, God willing.”

The former President’s lawyer insisted that there was “absolutely no truth” to the allegations, suggesting that the claims were part of government’s efforts to periodically attack Gayoom in the media “because they are scared of him and his rising popularity.”

“Their intention here is to hide the fact that neither the government nor the presidential commission has been able to do anything,” he said. “It is meant to hide their incompetence and keep hold of their high posts and salaries.”