Civil court orders police to pay MP Yameen Rf 244,000

The civil court has ordered police to pay Rf 244,000 (US$$15,823) in compensation to the former President’s half-brother and People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen for unlawful detention on the Presidential Retreat of Aarah.

Yameen was arrested in June last year on charges of bribery and treason, alongside Jumhooree Party (JP) leader and ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim.

However the Criminal Court at first refused to extend their detention beyond three days’ house arrest, claiming that there were no reasonable grounds to hold the MPs.

Yameen was subsequently taken into protective custody by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and held on the Presidential Retreat for 13 days.

The MNDF at the time claimed that Yameen had sought their protection after violent clashes between MDP supporters, police and another group outside his house on the evening of July 14. However Yameen claimed he refused the offer of protection and requested that security forces control the crowd outside his residence.

In August last year the Civil Court ruled that the government’s detention of Yameen was unconstitutional and declared that the MNDF had violated articles 41, 19, 21, 26, 30, 37, 45 and 46 of the constitution.

Explaining the decision to award Yameen compensation, Judge Aisha Shujoon said that the Supreme Court had at the time of Yameen’s detention determined that the arrest was unlawful.

Police had claimed that the case could not be filed against the police because the High Court had subsequently extended Yameen’s detention.

However, Judge Shujoon said that despite this ruling the Supreme Court had ruled that there were no judicial grounds to believe that Yameen was arrested in accordance with the law, and that therefore it was to be believed that the arrest was unlawful from the time he was arrested.

The Civil Court judge then ruled that Yameen’s detention from 29 June to 11 July was unlawful, and that Yameen had the right to be compensated for the 13 days and 20 minutes he was unlawfully held in detention.

Judge Shujoon said that considering respect for human dignity, detaining someone unlawfully could not be considered a minor offence.

She awarded Yameen Rf 1500 (US$972) for aggravated damage, Rf 41,600 (US$2697) for exemplary damages, and Rf 20,915.70 (US$1356) to reimburse Yameen for upgrading the security of his house.

The court also ordered police to pay the money within 30 days.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa recently submitted a resolution to parliament calling for an investigation into allegations that Yameen as former head of the State Trading Organisation (STO) had been complicit in trading subsidised oil to the Burmese military junta on the black market.