MNDF officers in ‘constitution appeal’ face disciplinary action

Four Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) officers – all signatories of an appeal calling on their fellow soldiers not to obey “unlawful” orders issued by the president following the expiry of the presidential term on November 10 – are facing disciplinary action.

Staff Sergeant Hassan Hameed of the Marine Corps is being held in the MNDF training facility at Girifushi Island, while Sergeant Ismail Sobeeh is being held in the military barracks at Bandaara Koshi, sources within the military have said.

Corporal Mohamed Rasheed and Lance Corporal Ahmed Anwar Ali have been barred from entering any military facilities.

The appeal signed by 73 mid-ranking officers – titled “An appeal to soldiers to maintain their oath to be professional and apolitical” – cites Article 107 of the constitution which limits a presidential term to five years and notes there will be no president and commander in chief at midnight on November 10.

“With reference to the aforementioned constitutional articles, we believe any order they make in the name of any institution on the army and police is unlawful. We call your attention to Article 245 of the Constitution which states that we do not have to obey such orders,” the appeal states.

MNDF spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem confirmed Hameed is being investigated on a disciplinary matter, but declined to comment on where he is being held.

The MNDF was not responding to calls when Minivan News called to check on the status of the three other soldiers.

An hour before the expiry of his presidential term, President Dr Mohamed Waheed declared he would stay on until the end of run off polls on November 16.

On the same night, police questioned suspended Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam who was removed from service in January this year.

The MNDF in October brought amendments to its regulations imposing punishments on officers found guilty of inciting upheaval and chaos.

The Military Act amendments came after senior officers sent a letter of concern over delays in presidential polls to Chief of Defense Forces Major General Ahmed Shiyam. The letter warned of political turmoil within the military should presidential elections be delayed and a new president not be determined by the end of the term.

Following the circulation of the letter on social media, First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef, Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid were handed ‘indefinite suspensions’ for allegedly inciting disruptions in the military ranks.

Minivan News understands the three soldiers are still on suspension without pay and without permission to work elsewhere.

On the same day, Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal was also removed from his position as the Commandant of Training and Doctrine.

The ‘anti upheaval and chaos’ amendment that has now become the 22nd chapter of the Military Regulation defines ‘upheaval and chaos” as

  • Making demands through petitions drawn among two or more officers
  • Displaying content that could sow discord and disorder amongst military flanks through speech, writing, graphical depictions, photographs or any other means
  • Speech or conduct that amounts to doubts and questions being raised about the legality of an order given to the officers or a group of officers and
  • Incitement of hatred and false allegations towards the upper ranks of the military.

Former Male Area Commander of MNDF Retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi – publicly regarded as a hero for his exploits during the 1988 Tamil coup attempt – in a letter published on social media also advised military officers to uphold the law and constitution regardless of who attempted to undermine it.

“My advice to the military officers is: ‘Do not give the opportunity to anyone who plans to rule this country by taking the laws to their own hands and override the constitution and undermine the constitutional framework of this country’,” wrote the ex-Brigadier General.


Translation: MNDF officers’ ‘letter of concern’

The following is a translation of a leaked “letter of concern” circulating on social media, submitted by senior officers of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to Chief of Defence Force Major-General Ali Shiyam on September 28. Following the release of the letter the MNDF amended its regulations to punish officers who promoted “upheaval and chaos”. Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal was subsequently removed from his position as the Commandant of Training and Doctrine,while First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef (Marine Corp), Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed and Lance Corporal Sharhaab Rashid were dismissed from service. First Lieutenant Mohamed Haleem resigned, stating “For the last 23 years [of my military service]; I have served this country under a solemn oath taken in the name of Allah, I do not see any way that I can carry out my duties as prescribed in the constitution and the military act, while in this position, therefore I request you to relieve me from my duties.”

To Chief of Defence Force Major General Ali Shiyam:

Whereas Article 236 in Chapter 9 of the Republic of Maldives’ Constitution states the Maldivian security services, consisting of the Military Service and the Police Service, is established to enable all persons in the Maldives to live in peace, security and freedom,

Whereas Article 237 states the security services shall protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies,

And whereas Article 238 states that the actions of the security services must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and operate on the basis of accountability,

And whereas Article 111 states that if no candidate wins by over fifty percent of the votes in a presidential election, a run-off election must be held within twenty one days of the first election,

And whereas Article 142 states judges must comply with the constitution and the law,

On 7 September 2013, a presidential election was held as per Article 110 of the Constitution. The Elections Commission announced a second round of election on 28 September 2013 as per Article 111 of the constitution.

According to Article 111 of the constitution, a second round of election must be held within 21 days after the first election, and that date is 28 September 2013. We believe, given Article 8 of the Constitution states that the powers of the state shall be exercised in accordance with the constitution, and as 28 September 2013 is the last date on which the second round of the presidential elections can be held, the Supreme Court order to delay the election is one that creates dangers for the nation and its citizens and creates challenges from a national security point of view, and may impede the military from carrying out is constitutionally mandated duties.

As per Article 237 the security forces are mandated with defending democratic institutions, and maintaining and enforcing law and order.

Given the shifting national security atmosphere in the country, and as the Maldivian state’s independent institutions and the international community are repeatedly calling for all parties to respect the constitution, we believe any military act that violates constitutional rules and democratic norms, will destroy the sovereign state established in the Maldives, destroy law and order in the country, and allow for a military state to be established in the Maldives.

This is due to influential actors who may abuse the turmoil and constitutional void following the delay in presidential elections. We are concerned that the chain of command established in the military as per the laws will be lost, and will allow for the military to be used as a tool to hand over administration of the state to a certain group of people.

Article 245 states that no one is allowed to issue an illegal order to a member of the security services and that members of the security services should not obey such an order. Hence, due to orders issued in the above mentioned situation, this institution [military] may fall into a deep pit, and we fear that subordinate commanders and lower ranks may be legally locked into a dark cell and may be criminally charged at a later date.

Hence, we express grave concern, and appeal for this institution not to be propelled into a deep pit, and state that we will steadfastly remain with good military behavior and good order against any illegal order.

28 September 2013


Brigadier General Shamal
Colonel Abdul Raheem
Brigadier General Ahmed Jihad
Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam
Colonel Hamid Shareef
Lt. Colonel Nasrulla Majdhee
Captain Abdul Muizz
Lt. Colonel Ibrahim Hilmee
Sergeant Major Hassan Fawaz
Sergeant Major Naushad Ali
First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef
First Lieutenant Mutholib [unclear]
Sergeant Major [first name unclear] Vaseem
[name unclear]
[name unclear]
Captain Hassan Amir