Independent Commissions Committee to summon Police Commissioner, PIC, HRCM and PG

Parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee has decided to summon Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz for questioning over police brutality against anti-government protesters who took to the streets, calling for the resignation of new President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik on February 8.

The issue was submitted to the committee last Wednesday by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza.

Hamza told Minivan News that he submitted the issue to the committee because the Police Commissioner had said the police would not investigate the police brutality against anti-government protesters on February 7 and 8.

Hamza said Riyaz had told him that he had requested the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) investigate the case.

‘’I am interested to know why he has refused to investigate the case,’’ he said. ‘’HRCM and Police Integrity Commission (PIC) are also being summoned to ask about their investigations into police brutality that day.’’

Hamza said the committee furthermore decided to summon Prosecutor General Ahmed Muiz because some MPs were keen to ask him questions about the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

‘’The Chair of the committee will determine a date and time that they will be summoned,’’ he added.

He also said that lots of anti-government protesters and MPs were assaulted by police on February 7 and 8.

Independent Commissions Committee is chaired by independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

MDP Deputy Leader and MP Alhan Fahmy has meanwhile submitted the case of the alleged coup d’état to the parliament’s National Security Committee for investigation and to determine the truth of the alleged events that took place on February 7.

Alhan said he was busy when Minivan News contacted him and did not respond.

He told Haveeru that the committee would investigate the circumstances of former President Nasheed’s resignation, and an allegation from Nasheed that Deputy Police Commissioner Atheef was held at knife point.

The National Security Committee has a majority of pro-government MPs and is chaired by Jumhoree Party (JP) Leader and MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim, whom the MDP have alleged was one of the resort owners responsible for funding the coup.

Last month the Maldivian Democratic Party submitted the case of police brutality against their parliamentarians to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

On February 8, thousands of anti-government supporters, led by former president Mohamed Nasheed, took to the streets demanding the resignation of the new President Dr Waheed Hassan alleging that his government was illegitimate.

Former President Nasheed, MDP Chairperson and MP ‘reeko’ Moosa Manik, MP Mariya Ali, MP Ahmed Shifaz and many other senior MDP figures were injured.


MDP MP accuses parliamentarians of ”demolishing the constitution”

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza has claimed the constitution of the Maldives gives too many powers to parliamentarians, and accused them of ”demolishing” it.

MP Hamza said the constitution narrowed both  presidential power and the power of the judiciary in favour of parliament.

”The powers are split into three so one power can compel another to act with responsibility,” MP Hamza said, ”but today we are seeing something different – we see the parliamentarians trying to take over the presidential powers.”

MP Hamza said the constitution very clearly stated the responsibilities of each power.

”However, the parliamentarians are trying to narrow the presidential powers,” MP Hamza said, ”for instance, some parliamentarians are trying to take the power of proposing names and appointing people for independent commissions, which actually is a power of the president.”

He said that the power of appointing people for the government’s media and Civil Service Commission (CSC) was also sought by the parliament.

He condemned  a bill proposed to the parliament by Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed, which he claimed was trying to take over the power of appointing people for senior posts in the armed forces.

Deputy leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Umar Naseer said that what Hamza said was ”certainly true.”

”But he does not mean that DRP MPs, he was speaking about MDP MPs,” Umar said. ”There are such bills proposed by MDP MPs recently, but I can’t recall them immediately.”

Umar said that the presidential powers should be narrowed “because when a sword is given to a silly person, people should establish ways to manage it.”


President to veto local council elections bill

President Mohamed Nasheed has announced that he will veto the bill on local council elections voted through by parliament earlier this week.

Speaking at a ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally last night, President Nasheed said ratifying the bill on decentralisation would be “the intelligent thing to do” but article four of the local council elections bill would deprive many citizens of their right to vote.

Article four requires that voters would have to be present in their island of birth or registered constituency in order to cast their ballots.

The bill was voted through by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)-People’s Alliance coalition without any votes from MDP MPs.

The president said a large number of people from the atolls living in Male’ or “40 per cent of the population”, would be deprived of the right to vote if he ratified the bill.

Moreover, he said, young men and women who work outside their islands would not have a say in local government.

He added that the bill was “definitely unconstitutional”.

In the 2008 presidential elections, said Nasheed, MDP received the majority of its backing from islanders living in Male’.

President Nasheed accused opposition MPs of employing “trickery and deceit” during the last session of parliament.

“50,000 people will vote for MDP. This is a cunning plan to deprive them of their vote,” he said.

Shifting blame

The two main political parties have  blamed each other for the controversial article four.

Two amendments proposed by the MDP to allow remote voting were defeated in parliament on Sunday.

”We proposed to amend the bill in a manner everyone can vote for,” said MDP MP Eva Abdulla. “But DRP MPs did not vote for it.”‘

Eva said then MDP then proposed another amendment to allow people of other islands living in Male’ to vote in the council elections “but they refused for that also”.

”There are more than 20 percent of each islands population who are from other islands,” she said.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan said that DRP MPs did not vote for the amendments because it did not provide the right to vote for everyone equally.

“‘One amendment allowed voting for people living in Male’ who had left their birth place, which is not fair,” Nihan said. “The other reason why we did not vote for the amendments is during the meeting held with political parties and the Elections Commission (EC), DRP objected to article four, but everyone else supported so we also agreed.”

Apart from DRP, said Nihan, MDP and MPs of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party participated in the meeting with the EC.

”The EC said that it would be difficult for them to keep ballot boxes everywhere and said they had financial difficulties too,” he said. “But we said it should be like any other elections, and the EC said that it was different from presidential elections and parliamentary elections and also said that it was the way they do it in other countries as well.”

He said that the ruling party was trying to “mislead people”.

”DRP had confirmed that we will present amendments to that bill and try to keep ballot boxes in other countries where Maldivians live,” he said.

But, MDP MP Mohamed Hamza dismissed Nihan’s claims as “all lies”.

”We presented two amendments, first one to at least allow people from islands living Male’ to vote,” Hamza said, ”the second one to hold the elections as widely as the elections commission could,”

He said that DRP MPs rejected both even though they understood it would deprive people of the right to vote.

DRP MP Ahmed Mahloof said the DRP raised the problem at the meeting with the EC and warned that article four would “become an issue”.

”[But] the EC wanted to make it different from other elections,” he said.

Mahlouf said President Nasheed was unhappy that the bill states all appointed island and atoll councilors should be dismissed.

“We want as many people to take part in the vote,” he said.