CNI statements made confidential “to protect evidence”: President’s Office

The President’s Office has declared that statements made to the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) concerning the legality of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s controversial ascension to power have been made confidential in order to protect those who testified to the commission.

Media Secretary of Presidents Office Masood Imad told local newspaper Haveeru that the CNI had agreed to protect those who gave evidence to the commission.

According to the government, President Waheed in March issued a presidential decree declared that all materials relating to the CNI would be declared a national secret and kept from the public.

“If the statements [given to the CNI] get published in public, [those who gave evidence to the commission] may face dangers and may be threatened. It is with the recommendation of the CNI panel as well that the statements had been made confidential,” claimed Masood.

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim told the newspaper that according to the presidential decree, the documents will be kept confidential and safely stored for a period of 25 years.

The defence minister said that the decision was made in adherence to Sections 22(b) and 22(c) of the Right to Information Regulation.

According to Section 22(b) exceptions to Right to Information include information which if released could prompt a lawsuit against the government for failing to ensure confidentiality, while Section 22(c) states that exception can also be made to withhold release of information if it would lead to difficulty for the government in obtaining similar information in the future.

According to Nazim, the president had given the defense ministry the responsibility on making the information confidential and keeping the assorted documents, audio, videos and photographs in the ministry’s custody.

“It hasn’t come to our hands as of yet. But we are working on bringing into our custody,” Nazim said.

Change in management

In late January 2012, a 22 day continuous anti-government protests led by then opposition figures and religious scholars following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed escalated into a mutiny by certain elements within the police and the military.

By midday of February 7, 2012, then-President Nasheed had exhausted all his options to establish a chain of command within the ranks of police and military, and was left trapped inside the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) barracks surrounded by rebelling police and military forces along with an angry mob of anti-Nasheed demonstrators which had been armed by the security services.

The current Defense Minister Nazim – who was a civilian at the time – entered the barracks and gave an ultimatum to Nasheed, “resign or face the dire repercussions”, to which Nasheed conceded and resigned.

Then vice President Waheed subsequently ascended to power.

The following day, Nasheed and the MDP along with thousands of supporters took to the street in protest of the new regime change, but were met with harsh crackdown by what the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) later described as an “emotionally charged” police and military.

The national inquiry

In June 2012, following strong local and international pressure – primarily from the Commonwealth – President Waheed was forced to reformulate the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) to include representatives from the MDP and international community. The national inquiry commission included three members handpicked by Waheed, a Singaporean judge and a representative of former President Nasheed.

The commission interviewed several individuals as well as reviewed photographs, videos and other documents relating to the transfer of power which Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had alleged was a “bloodless coup d’état” that forced the first democratically elected president out of office.

Prior to the release of the commission’s findings, Nasheed’s nominee to the commission Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed resigned in protest from the commission contending that vital information concerning the power transfer was deliberately disregarded in order to achieve a certain outcome.

“I realised it was all going wrong,” Saeed said at a press conference held after his resignation.

In a letter he wrote to the commission’s co-chairs, Saeed cited concerns including the withholding of evidence, non-cooperation from crucial witnesses, non-examination of witnesses, witnesses being intimidated or obstructed, testimonies and evidence that was not reviewed, and organisation by the CNI secretariat.

The CNI went onto announce its finding in which it claimed there was neither a coup as alleged by the former ruling party MDP nor was there any substantial grounds to question the legitimacy of President Waheed’s ascension to power – much to the dismay of former President Nasheed and the MDP.

“In sum, the Commission concludes that there was no illegal coercion or intimidation nor any coup d’état. The Commission has received no evidence supporting or to substantiate these allegations. This disposes the main mandate of the Commission,” read the report. The report and the commission’s website were subsequently taken off-line.

CNI findings flawed

A subsequent legal analysis of the commission’s report on the request of the now opposition MDP by a team of high-profile Sri Lankan legal professionals – including the country’s former Attorney General – accused the commission of exceeding its mandate, selectively gathering and acting upon evidence, and failing to adequately address the fundamental issue with which it was charged: determining whether the former President resigned under duress.

“[The CNI] appears to have abdicated its duty to objectively and reasonably bring its collective mind to bear on whether or not there was duress involved in the purported resignation of President Nasheed,” concluded the detailed report.

The authors included two Sri Lankan Supreme Court attorneys – Anita Perera and Senany Dayaratne – and the former Sri Lankan Attorney General Shibly Aziz.

“The [CNI] Report offends the fundamental tenets of natural justice, transparency and good governance, including the right to see adverse material, which undermines the salutary tenets of the Rule of Law,” it claimed.

Even by the yardstick of ‘coercion’ or illegal coercion which the [CNI] has incorporated for reasons one cannot fathom – given the clear mandate – ex facie the events accepted by the “[CNI] and without anything more, does strongly and convincingly establish the ‘coercion’ or ‘illegal coercion’, the yardstick chosen by the [CNI],” the report noted, in support for the claim of an illegitimate ousting of a legitimate head of state.

Parliamentary scrutiny

A review of the CNI report by Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee – the parliamentary select-committee mandated with overseeing the government and its agencies – led to the announcement by the committee’s chair that the report was “flawed”.

The Committee Chair MP Ali Waheed told local media that many interviewed by the committee claimed it lacked “key information they had given to [the CNI panel]”.

“Some have even claimed their information was wrongly presented,” he said, while others who attended the committee [meeting] “have told us that key information they gave was missing from the CNI report, and said they did not accept its findings”.

Leaked statements

Dozens of statements given to the CNI were leaked to local media. Among the statements included those given by former President Nasheed and statements from senior officials from the military and police.

In one of the leaked statements, MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem – who was commanding ‘Bravo’, one of the Bandara Koshi Battalion riot squads that confronted the mutinying police – told the CNI that he had “lost faith in the institution” after the events.

“I took an oath to protect the country and the president; not to beat civilians or to mutiny. I did not take an oath to follow a mutinous general. I was never a big fan of Nasheed, but it did not matter to me who the President was that day. I would have done the same for any president,” read his statement.

“In my view this was a coup. Why? I could see it from the way they handled everything, their attitude, how cool and calm all the officers were. I could tell from how cool General Shiyam was inside the MNDF. They did nothing. This is not how a uniformed officer should behave,” he said.

Former President Nasheed’s leaked statement read – “In essence, my statement is very small. I was forced to resign. I resigned under duress. I was threatened. If I did not resign within a stipulated period it would endanger mine and my family’s life. I understood they were going to harm a number of other citizens, party members. They were going to literally sack the town. I felt that I had no other option, other than to resign.”


Raajje TV forced to cancel art exhibition after Tourism Ministry refuses access to exhibition hall

Opposition-aligned local broadcaster Raajje Television has claimed that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture forced it to cancel an art exhibition ‘Dhe Fiyavalhu Fahathah’ (Two steps back) organised by the station, after the Ministry refused to issue access to National Art Gallery over “security concerns”.

The theme of the exhibition of both local and international artists was the controversial ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.

According to the events official Facebook page, it was to display a “collection of artwork where the artists express their opinion and ‘bigger picture’ of democracy in the Maldives”.

The station had opened the opportunity for artists aged over 18 to submit their work from June 20 to July 26.

Speaking to local media, Deputy CEO of the station Abdulla Yameen claimed it had sought all  necessary permissions and had even entered into an agreement with the National Center for Arts (NCA) to hold the exhibition.

He also said that in order to address any possible security concerns, the station had notified the police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

“However, until even to the last minute none of the authorities informed us of any security concerns. We had everything arranged for the exhibition and it was expected to kick off later on Friday evening. All our equipment was already inside the art gallery,” said the Deputy CEO.

According to Yameen, when the technical crew returned to the Art Gallery after breaking their fast, they were not allowed inside and were informed that access to the gallery had been restricted on the order of Toursim Minister Ahmed Adheeb.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the NCA Ali Waheed – President Mohamed Waheed’s brother – told local media that the keys to the gallery had been withheld on the orders of the Tourism Ministry over security concerns as the government’s Independence Day activities were to take place not far from the art gallery.

“Since it would be difficult to inform [the organisers of the exhibition] in writing, we verbally informed them that the art gallery would only be available after July 27. We even got the instruction from the Ministry on Friday. They said it was for security reasons,” Waheed said.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Ahmed Nazim was quoted in local media as saying it was not advisable to hold such an exhibition in a venue near the Independence Day activities, and said he had notified the Tourism Minister.

Nazim however denied giving any orders to restrict access to the art gallery, claiming the decision to block access to the art gallery was made solely by the Tourism Ministry.


President Waheed met with angry protests during “bittersweet” campaign trip to Thinadhoo

President Mohamed Waheed’s maiden campaign trip to Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll was met by hundreds of angry protesters who came out in opposition to the government’s heavy crackdown on the island following Waheed’s controversial ascension to power on February 7.

President Waheed has launched his presidential campaign under the slogan “forward with the nation”, after unveiling Ahmed Thasmeen Ali – leader of government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – as his running mate.

Waheed is backed by what he contends is a “broad-coalition” of political parties including his own party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP), the DRP, Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and religiously conservative Adaalath Party (AP).

At present, Waheed and Thasmeen will be standing against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Yameen Abdul Gayoom – Gayoom’s half brother, and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate former President Mohamed Nasheed.

He is also expected to face a candidate from the government-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP), presently led by MP Gasim Ibrahim.

Following the scuffle on Thinadhoo – Waheed’s mother’s home island – the President expressed frustration over the incident on social media service Twitter, in which he blamed Nasheed and the MDP and declared that such actions “do not bear well for a free and fair election”.

Speaking to local newspaper Haveeru, Waheed’s party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza alleged a group of MDP supporters came out to protest against Waheed. Some protesters also assaulted MP Ibrahim Muthalib from the Adhaalath Party, he alleged.

Riza claimed that Muthalib was saved from the protesters after the police intervened and calmed the situation.

According to media reports, objects including water bottles were also seen thrown at Waheed.

Thinadhoo saw some of the strongest reactions to the February 8 crackdown on protesters in Male’, with government offices and police stations destroyed across the island. Islanders were also reported to have blockaded the arrival of police reinforcements for days afterwards.

Police eventually arrested 17 people and later sent the names of 108 persons involved in the demonstrations for prosecution.

Family members no longer speak to me: President Waheed

Speaking at a campaign rally on the island, Waheed conceded that several family members including those residing on the island no longer spoke with him after the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

Waheed acknowledged that one of the main reasons why some of his family members had deserted him was that he was now working closely with those who had strong affiliations with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year autocratic regime. He said noted that his detractors included his own brothers and sisters, as well as cousins and nephews.

“It feels like they are trying to say that their brother doesn’t love them that much – and that is why he is working with people who we hate,” Waheed observed.

Waheed also spoke to the islanders about how his mother was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment following her mild criticism of Gayoom’s regime.

“As you would all know, back [during Gayoom’s regime] the political environment was such that criticising the government was a big crime. My mother while watching the TV said that Gayoom had lied. After that it was a very bitter experience,” he recalled.

“The poor lady was dragged to court, people gathered around her on the streets and pulled her hair, spat on her and committed other derogatory acts at that time in Male’.”

Waheed claimed that his mother never had any involvement in local politics and admitted that none of his family members would forget how Gayoom’s regime treated his mother.

Waheed said that despite this, the circumstances following the controversial resignation of former President Nasheed required him to take over the presidency. For that reason, Waheed said he had invited all political parties in the country to join his government.

“Among these [members of political parties] included those who caused such grief to my family. It is not that I don’t know who these people are, or that I chose to work with them. What was best for the country at that moment was for me to set aside my personal vengeance and to prioritise the country before my personal emotions,” he contended.

“Some of my family members could not take that. The result was that some of them, to this date, do not speak with me. Some of them even live in this island,” he said.

“Arriving in Thinadhoo gives me a bitter-sweet taste,” he added.

February 7

Nasheed’s arrest of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed led to 22-days of continuous anti-government protests initiated by religious scholars and opposition leaders. This culminated in a police and military mutiny and the controversial stepping-down of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, 2012.

Waheed – who was then vice-president – had shortly before the resignation publicly come out against Nasheed and joined the revolt, meeting key opposition party members in his residence at late hours the previous week.

Less than four hours after Nasheed resigned, Waheed took oath as the President, dismissed all Nasheed’s ministers and formed a coalition government with Nasheed’s political opponents.

Following the regime change, thousands of demonstrators came out in protest. Police retaliated with a brutal crackdown in front of international media.

The protests quickly spread across the country leading to arson attacks against government offices and the police stations.

“In essence, my statement is very small… I was forced to resign. I resigned under duress. I was threatened. If I did not resign within a stipulated period it would endanger mine and my family’s life. I understood they were going to harm a number of other citizens, party members. They were going to literally sack the town. I felt that I had no other option, other than to resign,” Nasheed told the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) that later investigated the transfer of power.

Despite the claim, the Commonwealth-backed CNI which included Waheed’s three hand-picked members, a Singaporean judge chosen by the government and a single representative from Nasheed who resigned in protest, dismissed allegations of a coup.

Subsequent legal analysis of the CNI final report by a team of high-profile Sri Lankan lawyers – including the country’s former Attorney General – accused the commission of exceeding its mandate, selectively gathering and acting upon evidence, and failing to adequately address the fundamental issue with which it was charged: determining whether former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned under duress.

Waheed has repeatedly dismissed the allegations and police have threatened to arrest anyone calling them ‘Baaghee’ (‘traitor’).


Former military, police intelligence chiefs claim Nasheed had no choice but to resign

The former Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) chiefs have claimed that former President Mohamed Nasheed had no choice but to resign on February 7, 2012, following a police and military mutiny.

The allegations were made public after meeting minutes of Parliament’s Executive Oversight committee were published in the parliament’s website.

The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the controversial transfer of power that took place. It has so far interviewed senior military officers, police officers and senior officials of both the current and former government.

Among the interviewees were  former Chief of Defence Force (retired) Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh, and former MNDF Male’ Area Commander (retired) Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi.

Others interviewed included former intelligence heads of the MNDF and police: Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam and Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed.

On February 7 2012, a continuous 22 day protest led by then opposition politicians, religious scholars and later joined by mutinying military and police officers, led to the sudden resignation of President Nasheed. The protests were fueled following Nasheed’s controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.

The ousted President subsequently alleged he was forced out of office in a coup d’état.  However, this claim was challenged in report by the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which found the transfer of power legitimate and constitutional.

“No other way for Nasheed” – former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel

Chief of Defense Force Moosa Ali Jaleel told the committee that the circumstances leading up to the resignation of former President gave rise to the fact that resignation was obtained by “illegal coercion”.

“I fully believe that President [Nasheed] resigned under duress,” he said.

Jaleel refused to describe the transfer of power as coup, stating that this should be decided by the court. However, he claimed that the transfer of power only took place because it involved assistance from the military.

“What I am saying is that the military was there when about 15,000 protesters gathered during protests of August 12-13 2004, but the government did not topple. There was a armed attack by the Tamil Tigers on November 3, 1988, and the government did not topple. But on February 7, 2012, during a protest of 2500, the government was toppled. I am referring to the statistics,” he said.

He added that the circumstances and the violent environment around the MNDF headquarters meant that “there was no other way for President Nasheed [than to resign].”

“The control of the MNDF Headquarters was not with the president, but it was exactly the way the Defense Minister wanted,” he alleged.

Jaleel added that no president could be sure of his safety when those officers who were supposed to look after his security began to call for his resignation. He would know his power no longer exists and his command no longer followed, added Jaleel.

“It is a coup” – former military intelligence head Ahmed Nilam

Former MNDF intelligence chief Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam echoed Jaleel’s remarks. Asked whether the toppling of Nasheed was a coup or a revolution, he claimed it was a coup.

“Academically speaking, the events on February 7 fulfilled all the essentials of a coup. It involved all the features of a coup that are widely accepted around the world. Some of the elements take place before the toppling of a president. Others take place spontaneously,” he said.

Nilam said he studied the events after the incident took place, which fitted an academic’s definition of a coup. However, Nilam also highlighted that it was up to a court to legally determine whether it had been a coup or not.

Asked if he had given the same details to the CNI, Nilam said he did given the same statement to the commission but it had not been reflected in its result.

He also reiterated that had not for the military assistance in the toppling of the government, there would have been no coup and Nasheed would not have been forced to resign.

“Police officers disobeyed their orders” – former Commissioner of Police

In his statement to the committee, Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh alleged that police officers who gathered in Republican Square on February 7 had disobeyed orders and their actions were grossly inconsistent with the Police Act, as well as professional standards established within the police.

Recalling the events, Faseeh said that he had done everything he could to control the situation but said there came a point where the officers had openly mutinied and disobeyed his orders.

“The actions of the police officers that night were unlawful. I am not a lawyer, so I can’t go into the details. But a lot of unlawful activities were carried out by the police,” he claimed.

However, Faseeh said that he did not know whether Nasheed had resigned under duress because he had not been present with him in  the MNDF headquarters.


Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee claims CNI report “flawed” based on the findings “so far”

The Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee, MP Ali Waheed, has claimed the August 2012 report produced by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee “so far”.

The Commonwealth-backed report investigated the circumstances surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.

MP Waheed, of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), made the claim in a press conference held by the parliament select committee in the early hours of Saturday.

Waheed said many interviewed by the committee claimed the CNI report lacked “key information they had given [the CNI panel]”.

“Some have even claimed their information was wrongly presented,” he said, but declined to reveal the identity of those who made the claim.

The committee previously requested President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to hand over statements of key figures of the former government and military officials given to CNI. The request was rejected and a bid by the committee to issue a legal order demanding the information failed when a vote was put to the members.

MP Waheed on Saturday described the president’s refusal to share the information as a “blessing in disguise”.

“Some people who attended the committee [meeting] have told us that key information they gave was missing from the CNI report, and said they did not accept its findings,” he said.

The opposition-controlled committee is conducting a parliamentary inquiry on the controversial transfer of power, while also reviewing the CNI report.

A 22 day continuous anti-government protest led by then opposition figures, religious scholars and mutinying police and military officials, following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, led to the sudden resignation of then-President Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed and his party later alleged he was forced out of office in a coup d’etat.

However in August 2012 the CNI formed by incoming President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and backed by the Commonwealth released a report declaring the transfer of power was legitimate.

As part of its present inquiry, the parliament’s committee has summoned former intelligence heads of the police and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), including Superintendent Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed and Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam.

Last Friday the committee summoned former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and former Police Superintendent Mohamed Jinah. It has also announced that two international experts will take part in assisting the inquiry for a period of two weeks.

“Huge crime against the state”

According to Waheed the parliamentary inquiry was “revealing” information suggesting a “huge crime against the state” involving individuals, leaders of political parties and senior figures within the police and the military.

“From what we have found out, the committee has come to the conclusion that the events very much involved the stakes of two pivotal figures. They are President Nasheed and President Waheed. This I say because the events involved people who were loyal to both Nasheed and Waheed,” he said.

He also admitted the names of several people have been floated within the committee who needed to be questioned in the course of the inquiry, including the former president and his successor. Others included former Home Minister Hassan Afeef, former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu and key senior officials of Nasheed’s administration.

MP Waheed also reiterated that a lot of people had been hesitant to speak to the CNI as it was formed by President Waheed’s government and included senior figures of the events of February 7. Some of those people cabinet positions, Waheed said.

“In light of what we have come to know, a lot of people were eager to raise their concern and share information regarding the [controversial transfer of power], but they were not sure of the right person to should share their concerns with,” he said.

A similar notion was put forward by Dhiyana Saeed in her personal memoir, in which she wrote of a plot by Nasheed’s political opponents to assassinate him.

“I desperately needed to consult someone but who? … I couldn’t go to my associates on this side because now I didn’t know whose hands were tainted and whose hands weren’t. The politics was so bitter, so deeply divided and so polarized that if I happened to confide in the wrong person I thought what I had to say would be reported to the wrong people and covered-up,” she wrote, in her memoir.

Meanwhile, Waheed noted security concerns raised by those who appeared before the committee, claiming they were “at risk” for sharing such confidential information.

“Some individuals who have given witness to the committee have raised concerns over their security and requested security. The committee has debated the matter and already informed the speaker [of its views],” he said.

“I don’t deny the fact that we may need to summon more people in the coming days. Some of the names of people we plan to summon may not be even mentioned in CNI report,” he said.

Asked of former SAARC Secretary General and Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed’s allegations of assassination attempts against Nasheed, Waheed said the committee would look into the allegations.

“The committee will very seriously look into the concerns raised by Dhiyana of a plotted assassination of former President Mohamed Nasheed,” he said.

“Inquiry is not politically motivated” – MP Ali Waheed

Challenged as to the credibility of the report, given that the committee had an opposition majority, Waheed said that they had decided to look into the matter not based on any “political motives”, and that the inquiry was solely based upon “national interest”.

“The committee’s findings will not produce politicised results. We are summoning key stakeholders including those in senior positions in the government.  The findings will not be based on the word of one just one person. We will not include any allegation against anyone without verifying it,” he said.

He added that the inquiry was not about the two former presidents or about President Waheed.

“This is not about the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) or the MDP. This is not an inquiry carried out by putting key political actors in a single chart and drawing conclusions for political benefit.”

He also affirmed that no unverified claims would be included in the report.

“[The report] will be based on information given by key people in positions of the state, who by the constitution are obliged to give true information,” he said.

Waheed also expressed confidence the report will unveil the truth of what happened on February last year, and said the committee was even willing to go to a public debate with those who wished to challenge its findings.

Presidents Office Spokesperson Masood Imad was not responding at time of press.


Parliament committee to seek international expertise for CNI report review

Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee is seeking international experts to help oversee a review of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) report.

Committee Chair Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ali Waheed said during a press conference yesterday (January 9) that efforts were being made to bring international experts in the fields of law and public inquiries to the Maldives for a review of the CNI report. The process is expected to take a minimum of two weeks.

The CNI report, which was released back in August 2012, looked into the circumstances surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February the same year. The report concluded that the change of government had been constitutional.

The government today dismissed the review as being politically motivated, while also rubbishing allegations that President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik had violated the constitution by not providing information from the CNI’s investigation to parliament.

Ali Waheed has claimed that the purpose of seeking international expertise was to ensure the autonomy and credibility of the parliamentary inquiry for both local and international actors. He added that parliament secretariat would make the announcement for applicants to fill the two positions at a later date.

The press conference was held right after the committee summoned the two former intelligence heads of both Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and Maldives Police Services as part of the parliamentary inquiry.

Ali Waheed was not responding to calls at the time of press. However, he was reported in local media as describing yesterday’s meeting as one of the most “extraordinary, concerning and fearful” experience in his parliamentary career.

“The information the committee got from the [intelligence heads] surprised me. New questions have come up over what took place last year,” he said. “The former intelligence heads wept at today’s committee meeting.”


When questioned about the impartiality of the committee, which has a majority representation of MDP members, Waheed claimed that the committee has previously been mostly made up of former opposition parties under the former administration.

He added that the committee at the time, under an opposition majority, had taken major decisions against the former government such as endorsing the bench of the Supreme Court during former President Nasheed’s administration.

“If the Maldivian Supreme Court is deemed legitimate, than regardless of who controls the majority of the committee, its decisions would be binding as well. This committee will do everything it can to maintain its credibility and autonomy,” he told local media. “I hope that committee members and members who give evidence to the committee will also think about that. I want this inquiry to take place transparently.”

Constitutional claims

Five members of the Executive Oversight Committee today passed a motion stating that President Waheed had disregarded Article 99 of the Constitution.

Article 99 states that the [Parliament] or any of its committees has the power to – (a) summon any person to appear before it to give evidence under oath, or to produce documents. Any person who is questioned by the [Parliament] as provided for in this Article shall answer to the best of his knowledge and ability; (b) require any person or institution to report to it; (c) receive petitions, representations or submissions from interested persons or institutions.

When contacted today, Media Secretary of Presidents Office Masood Imad declined to comment, stating that he “was very busy”.

He requested Minivan News to ask the committee members as to what constitutional clause President Waheed was alleged to have violated by not providing the information to parliament.

Masood said yesterday that the statements given to CNI were not in public domain and therefore it would be President Waheed who would make a decision on the matter.

“That is a property of [CNI], but now that commission has been dissolved. So now whether to make the documents available in the public domain is solely up to President Waheed to decide,” he said at the time. “The commission was formed to release a report on the findings. The report is now available, that means it will have what is mentioned in the statements.”

President’s Office Spokesperson, Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq also dismissed the committee’s motion claiming that it was a “political” decision.

In an interview given to Channel News Maldives today, Thaufeeq said that the new government has never tried to exert undue influence over the parliament.

“President Waheed has never even once violated the constitution. He is using the powers that have been vested to him by the constitution. He has never gone beyond his jurisdiction. Yesterday, the decision was made by a committee that had the majority of opposition MDP. That is a political decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Thaufeeq went on to accuse the People’s Majlis of trying to influence the day to day running of the government.

“Government reluctance”

Executive Oversight Committee member and MDP MP Ahmed Easa responded that any information from the executive power must be given to the parliament unless it concerns the national security of the state or involves critical confidential information.

“Any document the parliament requests must be given from the government unless its concerns the national security or critical confidential information,” he said. “Even if the information concerns national security interests, there are procedures in which it can be shared. So far government has not said that those documents fit into the said criterion.”

He also claimed that there were no legitimate grounds for President Waheed to ignore the request from parliament without giving proper reasoning. According to Easa, the action “clearly violated the constitution”.

The Kendhikulhudhoo constituency MP admitted that committee would face “huge challenges” in reviewing the findings of the CNI Report without obtaining the information of which the report was based on.

“For an example, CNI has clearly mentioned that there are issues within the country’s judiciary. However, it has not gone into details. So how can we find about the mentioned issues within the judiciary without obtaining the information on which such a conclusion was based upon. We need to find out based on what information had the CNI come to such a conclusion,” he explained.

“They are crying out loud saying that the findings in the CNI report was the truth. If so what we are saying is that the truth must have been obtained from credible true information. Why are they hesitating to share that information with us?”


Dismissed human rights minister alleges “assassination” plot against former President Nasheed

Former Human Rights Minister and one time SAARC Secretary General Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has alleged certain figures behind protests leading to the controversial transfer of power on February 7 had also planned to assassinate former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The allegations from Saeed, who was recently dismissed as the government’s Human Rights Minister, were raised in a personal memoir entitled “Silent inquiry: A Personal Memoir on the issue of the Transfer of Powers on the 7th of February 2012” obtained by Minivan News.

In the document, Saeed describes the reasons for her involvement in the anti-government protests led by then opposition leaders, while also alleging that President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s government had attempted to manipulate the outcome of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) report.

Saeed has also accused President Waheed – then vice president – of taking a direct role in efforts to remove Nasheed from office in the run up to February 7.  The president has denied all allegations of his direct involvement in the transfer of power.

The CNI’s findings, welcomed by the Commonwealth, US and the UN, rejected accusations that the present government came to power illegally, despite claims from former President Nasheed that the report’s conclusions were flawed and failed to include key witness statements and evidence.

The President’s Office has today dismissed the allegations that the government had sought to manipulate the CNI report’s as “entirely baseless”, while questioning the motive and timing of the accusations raised by Saeed.

Speaking to Minivan News, Saeed claimed that she had decided to release the information because she believed that the public had a right to know about “such a crime against the state” alleged to have been committed by President Waheed and his allies.

Attempts to assassinate President Nasheed

Saeed’s memoirs recounted a conversation on the morning of February 6 with a “friend and a long-standing political associate” whom she had identified only as “X”.

During her conversation with X, Saeed wrote that the idea of “taking out” president Nasheed came up.

“I understood that to mean an impeachment motion and I knew the opposition didn’t have that kind of numbers so I asked how that was possible. He replied that according to ‘them’ there were many methods, that one of them could go in a technician’s guise, fix the air conditioning and that could do the job. Instantly, I understood that he meant a lethal gas and that he was talking about an assassination,” she wrote.

Saeed said she objected to the idea of an assassinating President Nasheed.

“He dismissed my objections and went on to say that there were people who were ready to shoot Nasheed upfront and they had, among them, the children of those who died on November 3, 1988 [Coup D’état],” she wrote.

Nonetheless, Saeed claimed that the idea of an “upfront” assassination was quickly disregarded, citing the consequences, potentially including an international criminal investigation into an assassination of a head of state.

Saeed went on to allege that should such an attack have been carried out, it would not be the first attempt on President Nasheed’s life.

She accused a group of two to three unidentified military officials in late January 2012 of visiting the then state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) as part of a possible plot.

“They had said the president would be appearing in the [local TV variety show] Heyanbo and would be at the studio for a recording. Then, they had measured the entire distance from the entrance, through the corridors to the studio. They had gone into the studio and drawn diagrams including the wiring above,” she claimed.

“At the time, there had been a hushed and contained talk within select MNBC 1 staff about a staff member being approached to talk about an ‘accidental’ fire from a short of the wires in the studio.  MNBC 1 was a very old building with bad wiring which even now causes problems and an ‘accidental’ fire might be regarded as natural. I was given this information from a reliable source, but I will not disclose the source for safety reasons,” she wrote.

A second plan was alleged by Saeed to have been plotted to take place in an event where the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) were to display firing of live arms at a ceremonial event.

“The firing was ceremonial and it was to happen with the Commander of the Armed Forces. That is President Nasheed, standing in a designated position. When the preparation for the ceremony was underway, a mid-ranking officer had reported that he had come to know of a plan to shoot the President ‘accidentally.’ This had resulted in an investigation,” she claimed.

However, according to her account, this was quickly dismissed by the officers in charge stating that an accidental firing was impossible because the weapon would be fixed in a particular position. Due to a conflicting schedule with an another ceremony, the MNDF ceremony took place with then Vice President Waheed as the chief guest.

Pre-planned deposing of Nasheed

Saeed suggested measures were also planned by alleged perpetrators  to guarantee then Vice President Waheed’s loyalty towards opposition forces rather than Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in power at the time.

According to Saeeds’s account, this was achieved through re-igniting the pre-existing conflicts between Waheed and the MDP by sending a group of key opposition figures to meet him.  These political figures were involved in the anti-government protests that began on January 2012 following the controversial detention by the military of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.

“[X] then told me that their first step had been to create a clash between Waheed and MDP in order to ensure that Waheed would not be able to take over MDP and that’s the reason [Progressive Party of Maldives Interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer] was sent to Waheed few nights back where after his meeting with the Vice President, he stood outside Waheed’s residence and announced to the country that Waheed was ready to take over from Nasheed. X then repeated that everything was now set for Nasheed to be ‘taken-out.’ I asked him when this taking-out would happen and he said soon,” she recalled.

Saeed alleged that it was no coincidence that February 7 was the exact date by which Nasheed had planned to declare all the courts except the Supreme Court unconstitutional by presidential decree.

“If President Nasheed had carried out that move and despite the constitutional challenges, won the move, it would disarm the old guards in the opposition who still had, to some extent, a hold on the judiciary.  That could be the reason why February 7th was decided upon – that it was the now or never moment,” she claimed.

“In addition, the ongoing civil alliance protest was a bonus in that it would provide the perfect cover,” she added.

As events unfolded, and after Nasheed officially resigned from office on February 7, Saeed said she appeared on the then opposition-aligned local broadcaster DhiTV. After her appearance, she claimed that she received an SMS by “X” asking her whether she “believed” him now.  This SMS message she said did not initially sound suspicious, therefore replied back questioning whether X was “bragging”.

“I remained there, outside the DhiTV building conscious that something very wrong had happened but I couldn’t quite grasp the reality and enormity of what had possibly taken place.  The events that had unfolded and that were manifest before our eyes had seemed spontaneous enough,” she recalled.

However, Saeed claimed that she was tormented by the events that took place, not knowing whether to believe that Nasheed left office within lawful grounds or whether something else had taken place behind the scenes.

“The politics was so bitter, so deeply divided and so polarised that if I happened to confide in the wrong person I thought what I had to say would be reported to the wrong people and covered up,” she admitted.

After a heavy-handed police crackdown on pro-Nasheed protesters following his resignation, Saeed claimed that she sent an SMS again to “X” asking what would happen next as Nasheed had gained a large support base after announcing that he was ousted in a coup.

The reply she got from X, Saeed claimed, was not to worry and that Nasheed would now have to be “finished within constitutional and legal bounds” and that “they had many tricks to play”.

“This [SMS Message] took a load off my chest. I understood it to mean that whatever stand-by plans X and his associates may have had and still had, there would be no attempt or no further attempt on President Nasheed’s life,” she wrote.

Military misconduct on February 7

Aside from the assassination allegations she has raised, Saeed also criticised the findings of the CNI report.

She noted particular concern over the report’s silence on the military officials who had joined the rebellion and the CNI’s failure to refer to the concept of mutiny in the Defence Forces Act.

In the account, Saeed also shared her information on what happened within the MNDF barracks on February 7.

“It may not be publicly known but it is known within the military that on the morning of February 7, prior to President Nasheed’s resignation, then Brigadier General Ahmed Shiyam was purportedly appointed as the Acting Chief of Defence Force,” she wrote.

She claimed that there were no legitimate grounds for Brigadier General Shiyam to be appointed as acting chief of defence force by ex-serviceman, Nazim who, “it is clear, lacked the authority to issue such an order”.

She also argued that while the defence base was on red alert, some officers had abandoned the headquarters in breach of the Defence Forces Act.

“It has also been reported that on February 7, when the MNDF was in red alert and when most of the military had been in rank and file, four senior officers, Solih Moosa of MNDF, Captain Amanullah, First Lieutenant, Adnan and Captain Riyaz (BK) had reportedly left their positions, abandoning their duties,” she wrote.

In another incident highlighted in her account, five Special Protection Group (SPG) officers – under the leadership of Staff Sergeant Rikaaz – had defied President Nasheed, openly claimed that they were following direct orders of then Vice President Waheed and attempted to take weapons that were under the control of the marines.

“Other incidents included open defiance and the use of profanities against seniors in breach of the law, protocol and military custom. It was perhaps for this reason that CNI was denied access to the footage from cameras located within the MNDF Headquarters. It would have shown manifest wrongdoing on the part of the military,” she wrote.

Saeed also maintained that information in her account were received from reliable sources placed within the military, who had also conveyed the same information to CNI.

Allegations against former Defence Minister Tholhath

Saeed’s memoir also alleged that former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu played a pivotal role in the fall of former President Nasheed, claiming that he had breached the Defence Forces Act by exercising his powers beyond legal bounds.

“Tholhath also stands accused of bringing several changes within the structure of MNDF to facilitate this move such as reportedly giving promotion three times within three months to Major Adnan to enable him to be placed in the intelligence section,” she alleged.

She also alleged that the defence minister aggravated the already heated situation by throwing a smoke canister towards protesting police on Republican Square during a “stand-off” between the two institutions.

“The move on the defence minister’s part was outside the role of the minister prescribed by section 10 of the Military Act and it was also in breach of established protocol and rules of engagement,” she added.

Saeed further claimed that Tholhath was in “serious debt” at the time.

“Those people to whom he owed money reportedly included mid ranking military officers as well as top military personnel if indeed, Tholhath was in financial hardship and he had been partly assisted out of that hardship, there could be a motive to lie. In the light of the serious allegations involved, it is disappointing that CNI did not examine his accounts,” she claimed.

Government’s hesitance to be bound by the outcome of Commission of National Inquiry

Despite rejecting initial invitations to join President Waheed’s cabinet, Saeed claimed that she gave the administration the “benefit of doubt” and opted to join the government after Nasheed failed to prove his claim of being removed in a “coup d’etat”.  She contended that he had been given a “just and fair opportunity” to do so at the time, and that she had genuinely believed that Waheed did not know of any plans to “take out” Nasheed.

She was immediately given the task to defend the new government upon taking the position of Human Rights minister after Maldives had been placed in the formal agenda of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

CMAG had at the time called on the government to reconstitute the CNI after it raised serious questions on the impartiality of the initial three-member panel that included former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s defence minister.

She claims that the government had refused to accept a clause in the initial Terms of Reference (ToR) – which stated that all parties will consider the “findings of CNI report final and binding” – that the Commonwealth had proposed with its recommendations to reconstitute the CNI.

“At some point in the talks, the Attorney General Azima Shukoor whispered to me that this clause needed to be removed because if the CNI made a finding of culpability on the part of Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz and Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and recommended that action be taken against them, a final and binding clause might bar them from challenging the finding in the courts.

“In other words, the ‘final and binding’ clause was removed in order to pave way for Riyaz and Nazim, the [Waheed Government’s] Commissioner of Police and the Minister of  Defence respectively, to challenge the CNI’s finding in the event culpability is found on their part,” she wrote.

“In essence, this meant the Government had no intention to be bound by CNI’s findings – unless CNI’s findings suited the Government,” she added.

Defence Minister Nazim’s plan to harass Nasheed’s initial nominee for CNI

After adhering to the demands from the Commonwealth to reconstitute the CNI, the government offered President Nasheed the opportunity to appoint a nominee to the inquiry commission that met an eligibility criterion set out as per the government’s agreement with commonwealth.

Almost all of Nasheed’s names were rejected except that of former school Principal Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed. Prior to accepting Saeed’s name, the name of former Finance Minister Mohamed Shihab’s daughter Manaal Shihab was floated in the media as a possible nominee of Nasheed.

Saeed claimed in her memoirs that Defence Minister Nazim had urged the government to accept Manaal Shihab’s name and had planned to harass and intimidate her.

“Defence Minister Nazim said we should accept the nomination adding that he had instructed a background check. A background check was normal and legitimate but what he indicated next wasn’t either normal or legitimate. He said they would commence harassment of Manaal from the moment she is appointed to CNI. I remember bantering on to find out whether he really meant that, whether he intended to have President Nasheed’s nominee harassed,” she revealed.

However, Manaal Shihab’s name was withdrawn by the MDP, who had later proposed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed instead. The government at the time had said that even though ‘Gahaa’ Saeed, like all the other nominees proposed by President Nasheed, had not met the government’s eligibility criterion, it would accept the nomination.

However, Saeed argued that the acceptance was made amidst immense pressure from the commonwealth.

Tapping of Commissioner Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed’s phone

The memoirs allege that even though ‘Gahaa’ Saeed was not harassed, his phone was tapped and the government had been continuously listening to phone conversations, including a conversation between himself and the Commonwealth’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon.

“The implication that the Commissioner’s phone was tapped didn’t surprise me because the Defence Minister had previously mentioned a telephone conversation that [Sir Don McKinnon] had allegedly had with the commissioner. If my memory serves me right, he had even said they had the recording,” she wrote.

According to Saeed’s memoirs, she had previously asked Nazim whether he would or would not ‘bug’ the investigation room where CNI members took the interviews, but Nazim had at the time dismissed such ideas in vague responses.

However, on one particular day after a high level meeting to discuss on the matter of Maldives being on the formal agenda of CMAG, Saeed recalled an encounter with the Defence Minister.

“I don’t remember what exactly led to the subject of bugging. I may have asked as I had done in the past. He said that the place where CNI had conducted its inquiry was bugged, then made a sweeping gesture and said, even that very room was bugged,” she recalled.

President Waheed’s hand tainted

Saeed claimed she initially believed President Waheed had no knowledge of plans to try and ouster Nasheed prior to his resignation.  However, she said to have later discovered that Waheed too had a role in the controversial toppling of Nasheed, claiming that the President had prior knowledge of what would possibly happen in February.

In her memoir, Saeed refers to another person, identified as “Y” – described as a “trusted friend” – who had a responsibility to oversee independent institutions of the state.

According to Saeed, she had met the figure to discuss perceived inconsistencies in the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM)’s report on February 7.

“After a discussion of those issues, I told him that there was another reason which made me doubt HRCM’s conclusion. I then told him everything I had been told by X on the February 6 right down to the ‘Now you believe me?’ text I had received from ‘X’ on February 7. The only thing I didn’t tell him was X’s identity,” she wrote.

Saeed claimed “Y” also shared a secret that surprised her.

“A week before the now disputed resignation of President Nasheed, his Vice President had invited ‘Y’ to his residence for dinner. After dinner, when he was about to leave, when he was bending over to put on his shoes, the Vice President had bent over and whispered into his ears, that things would be difficult in the coming week and whether ‘Y’ would help him. ‘Y’, not suspecting that anything out of the ordinary would happen in the coming week had assured the Vice President that he would indeed help him,” she claimed.

Apart from the conversations, Saeed also alleged that “Y” was offered the vacant vice presidents position should President Waheed ascend to the presidency.

She claimed the unidentified figure had declined the offer, going on to write that “Y” would have made a formidable vice president stating that he was “highly skilled and adept at analysis” and was also “an eloquent speaker”.

Saeed claimed that it was Waheed’s “selective” announcement of findings of CNI report had “finally shattered” her faith in his integrity as president.

Saeed accused Dr Waheed of deliberately omitting the findings on police brutality during the press briefing given by the president announcing the findings of CNI,.

“I felt that it was a crime to stay silent [following the announcement]. I called my technical adviser, one of the most competent lawyers I knew and a trusted friend into my office and asked her whether she thought silence amounted to complicity and whether my silence would bar me from entering paradise on the Day of Judgement,” she wrote.

Saeed also alleged that Waheed had also deliberately ignored calls from President Nasheed during the turmoil of February 7.

“[But] he was in continuous contact with people opposing the government. In fact, he promptly answered my messages and calls on the night of February 6 and morning of February 7. He had even called top ranking military personnel and in some instances, reportedly urged and encouraged them to oppose President Nasheed. He did all that and yet, he did not initiate a call to his own president nor did he answer or return the president’s call when the president attempted to contact him twice,” she wrote.

This action, Dhiyana said was “highly significant” because as vice president Waheed had a “constitutional, legal and moral duty to assist Nasheed” and he failed to discharge those duties and had “willfully ignored those duties”.


“I weighed all this together and I could not ignore the logical conclusion – that key players had engineered and orchestrated the events, that President Nasheed had not resigned voluntarily as he asserted and that Waheed was possibly complicit. I believe further, that had President Nasheed not resigned ‘voluntarily’ that day he would have been killed in a way that would not be apparent as a killing – perhaps ‘accidentally’ in a cross-fire in the MNDF or at the hands of the enraged public in the manner of Amin Didi, the first President of the Republic,” Saeed wrote in conclusion.

She added that only an international criminal investigation that is “independent, impartial and comprehensive” can uncover the truth behind the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

Government response

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad today dismissed allegations that members of the Waheed administration has sought to cover up or manipulate the CNI’s findings, adding that authorities had no involvement in the final report’s conclusions.

Conversely, Masood said that the government was concerned at the time that the MDP had been appointed a representative on the CNI panel, claiming President Waheed and his administration had no representation or “voice” in the process.

“If I’m honest, we didn’t know what the hell [the CNI panel] would come out with in their findings,” he said.

Masood was also critical of the timing of the allegations being released.

“If [Saeed] was being honest, she would have raised these issues while she was still a serving minister,” he said.  “Why is she talking now after quitting or being dismissed from government?  This is not very professional and she should be more responsible.”


President Nasheed’s representative to CNI alleges February 7 draft report missed several facts

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s representative on the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed, has today expressed deep concern over the draft report compiled by investigation’s co-chair, retired Singaporean Judge G P Selvam.

In a brief statement provided to media today outside Muleeaage, Saeed said that the draft report produced by Selvam “somewhat refutes or denies what we Maldivians saw and experienced” on February 7.  Former President Nasheed resigned during the day under what he later claimed was “duress” after elements of police and the army mutinied at Republic Square.

“I accepted membership of the Commission of National Inquiry with the weight of responsibility of carrying the hopes of you, the Maldivian people. The Maldivian people saw the first democratic government formed under the constitution adopted in 2008 as a good reform – a golden opportunity to revise the constitution and establish a democratic system and rule of the people. [The people] saw it as an opportunity to move away from the culture of arresting and banishing previous rulers and establishing a culture of changing governments through the vote and not through coup d’etats,” Saeed said today.

“February 7, 2012 was a day that shocked Maldivians – a day when the Maldivian government was changed in a sudden confusion. Now, however, the report that Judge Selvam has drafted and brought is a draft that somewhat refutes or denies what we Maldivians saw and experienced – or a draft that somewhat confuses things, the way it is now.

“While this is happening, for me to stay here, at Muleeage, would I believe be a betrayal of my country and the Maldivian people. I see the draft report as having been written without considering the witness testimony of many, many people to CoNI as well as the many scenes we saw.”

Saeed added that he would continue to work to “include my concerns” in the final report. He was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press regarding his comments.

Following Saeed’s statement, the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) convened an emergency meeting of the party’s National Council.

A resolution proposed by former minister Mohamed Shihab and seconded by MP Mariya Ahmed Didi expressing concern in line with Saeed’s views on the draft report was adopted with unanimous consent.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that the information in the current “domestic draft” report was not acceptable.

“What [Saeed] is saying is that they have omitted several details that they found from the investigations, so he is asking to make the report accurate in reflecting this,” he explained.

However, he observed there was room for the CNI’s findings to still find consensus before its public release on Thursday (August 30).

“The CNI report should be something that all its members have to agree upon so without MDP’s word, the report would not be authentic,” Ghafoor said.

“There is a draft out there that appears to conclude that there was no police mutiny [on February 7], this is just not acceptable given what the public saw,” he claimed.

President’s Office spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza and Media secretary Masood Imad were not responding to calls by Minivan News at the time of press.

The first three-member CNI was appointed by President Mohamed Waheed, following a police and military mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation on February 7. Both Nasheed and the MDP allege that his resignation was made under “duress” and was therefore a “coup d’état”.

Facing pressure from the Commonwealth and civil society NGOs, the government eventually agreed to reform the commission to include a retired Singaporean judge and a representative for Nasheed.

Nasheed’s representative, Saeed, who was formerly both Principal of ‘Ahmadiyya School’ and Deputy Principal of the British College of Sri Lanka was finally accepted after the government of President Waheed rejected almost 11 names Nasheed proposed to the commission.

The original members of the CNI subsequently released a ‘timeline’ into events that took place from January 16 to February 7.

The MDP accused the commission of trying to prejudice the work of the new commission, and then released its own version of events in response – the ‘Ameen- Aslam’ report based on interviews with the security services. The government described the publication of this report as a “terrorist act”.

An audio clip of Saeed’s statement


HRCM’s report claims Nasheed’s life was never in danger during resignation

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) in a report investigating alleged human rights violations on February 6 and 7 has said former President Mohamed Nasheed’s life was not in danger at the time of his resignation.

“The investigation did not find that anyone had tried to assassinate President Mohamed Nasheed during the time he spent inside Bandaara Koshi – the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters – on February 7,” the HRCM concluded.

According to the report, the commission was requested to investigate claims that the former president’s life was in danger while he was inside military barracks.  The request was made on April 11, 2012 by the chair of parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed,

The HRCM report was compiled based on the findings of its own investigations, which included witness statements from the police and the MNDF, media reports, video and photographic evidence as well as eyewitnesses accounts from representatives of all political parties.

However, the commission noted that despite repeated attempts, Nasheed refused to cooperate with the investigation, which forced them to compile the report without his statement or account of events leading up his resignation.

The report focused on six areas: the incidents that took place at Male’s Artificial Beach area on the night of February 6; vandalism of the former ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge camp or gathering spot by rogue police officers; the attack on private broadcaster Villa TV (VTV); incidents that took place at the Republican Square on February 7; the storming of the compound of state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) by police and army officers; and Nasheed’s claim that mutinying or rebellious officers tried to lynch him inside the MNDF headquarters.

Clashes at artificial beach

On the night of February 6, demonstrators from the ‘December 23 coalition’ of eight political parties of the then-opposition were facing off supporters of the MDP at the artificial beach, following three weeks of opposition protests that saw attacks on journalists of the state broadcaster MNBC and MDP-aligned Raajje TV as well as vandalism of a minister’s residence.

The HRCM report contended that the violence that took place on February 6 at the artificial beach area was triggered by an “unlawful” order directly from President Nasheed for riot police to withdraw from the protest zone.

The commission noted that article 6(d) of the Police Act clearly states that the police must maintain safety and public order while article 6(h) states that police should maintain order at venues set up for public use or gatherings.

The order for police to withdraw from the artificial beach area was therefore in violation of the law and constitutional provisions, the HRCM report stated.

“[…] despite repeated advice given by the police officers on ground that it was not a good move for the police to abandon the scene, the Home Minister and several senior officers from the police ordered the police to leave the area in violation of the aforementioned clauses, which resulted in police not being able to fully carry out their duty,” the HRCM report stated.

The police eventually left the area after MNDF officers arrived at the scene, but the commission’s report claimed that the incoming military officers also retreated soon thereafter, leaving the rival protesters to throw stones at each other for 15 minutes.

“Despite article 7(b) of Maldives National Defence Force Act setting provisions to defend and protect the Maldives’ independence and sovereignty, as well as protecting the national interests of the country, the MNDF officers at the order of the president, left the scene even when it was evident that the tensions between the two protesting group would give rise to violence,” the report stated.

HRCM noted that the MNDF failed to take adequate measures to prevent the violent confrontation.

“Due to this, the protesters were dispersed after several participants got severely injured from the violence that began.  Therefore the MNDF had failed in carrying out their legal duty,” the findings stated.

The report also noted that senior police officials tried to obstruct officers who left the police headquarters at the Republic Square when they heard of the clash between the protesters.

It also claimed that the police did not take any action to confiscate items that the protesters wielded at the time, which could have been used as weapons despite officers having knowledge about it.

The commission, based on the findings, has urged the MNDF, Maldives Police Service and the Police Integrity Commission to investigate and take action against those officers who obeyed the “unlawful” order and also called on the political parties to be more responsible in carrying out their activities.

Vandalism of MDP Haruge

Based on the information collected from the members of MDP present at Haruge during the time of the alleged police vandalism, the report stated that about 30 police officers in Special Operations (SO) uniform entered into premises at a time between 12:00am to 12:30am in the early hours of February 7.

“Police entering into Haruge smashed plates, toppled a bondibai (traditional Maldivian rice pudding) buffet, overturned a pickup truck inside the premises, brought down the MDP podium and attacked one person, while another person was grappled and thrown against a wall, after which he had to seek medical assistance from ADK Hospital,” according to information provided by MDP.

The report also stated that former State Minister for Home Affairs, Mohamed ‘Monaza’ Naeem was attacked by the police, while one person present was pepper sprayed in the face as the police officers present hit another individual on the back with a chair.

The MDP, in the information given to the report, also claimed that the police had smashed the window of the Maldives Media Council office with a baton before they left the area.

Attack on Villa TV

The HRCM in its report, highlighted that private broadcaster Villa Television (VTV), owned by the now government-aligned Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, was attacked by two men who had attempted to set the station on fire.

“On the night of February 6, a group of people attacked Villa TV and set fire on some parts of the building and this instilled fear and chaos within the employees of the station, who had suffered psychologically,” the report stated.

The report noted that the station suffered damages to the building’s structure, as well as the broadcaster’s equipment.

The HRCM also highlighted that police, who were asked to ensure the security of the premises following previous requests, were not present when the attacks took place.

“Following the instability in Male’ and with numerous threats received to the station, the company running the station had requested assistance from the police for security and police kept guarding the premises.  However, the police officers who were to be present at the station for security purpose were not there when the attacks took place on the night of February 6,” read the report.

The HRCM requested that the Maldives Police Service and the PIC investigate the matter and take action against those found responsible.

Incidents at Republican Square on February 7

HRCM observed that after vandalising MDP Haruge, the mutinying officers headed back to the Republican Square area of the capital.

“An order was issued to all the police officers who came from artificial beach to assemble in the Republican Square in the helipad area.  Meanwhile officers who were not in uniform and those in working uniform were ordered to be present on the third floor of the police headquarters building by Deputy Commissioner of Police Ahmed Muneer,” it read.

The police who had assembled were told by the Deputy Commissioner of Police Ahmed Atheef that certain officers had disobeyed their orders and therefore should be responsible for any circumstances that were to arise from their action.

“There were claims that the police institution was falling apart because of the ongoing corruption within, including drug issues and other concerns, and that complaints over the issues were retained in the middle management which meant the police officers had to rely on the middle management.  The police officers at the scene decided not follow any unlawful orders and to demand the commissioner of police to not to take any action against officers following their actions,” read the report.

The report claimed that the police officers, when they heard the news that the MNDF were coming to arrest them, came to alert their colleagues and claimed that they were prepared to confront the military officers.

Initially the commissioner of police refused to meet the mutinying officers, but later agreed to meet them at the police barracks in Iskandhar Koshi (IK).

“When the Commissioner of Police (CP)’s secretary came and requested that the officers go to IK to meet him, the police stood up to go, but when the MNDF were instructed to go to there without their shields, arms and riot gear, the police changed their mind and demanded the commissioner of police to meet them at the Republican Square,” the report claimed.

Police who had given information to the report claimed that the officers were exhausted and very hungry after the continuous duty from the night of February 6, adding they could only go to toilet with an authorized officer.

At about 06:08am, President Mohamed Nasheed arrived to Republican Square to talk to the mutinying officers.

The report claimed that Nasheed had told the officers that they had committed a “very despicable act” and to hand themselves over to MNDF, but the officers responded saying “no sir!”

Nasheed later left the area and went inside Bandaara Koshi (BK), the MNDF barracks.

At 8:00am, police in the report claimed while they were reciting the police oath, a group of protesters with metal rods and wooden sticks came barging into republican square chanting “arrest Baaghees (rebels)”.

They claimed that in the group of protesters, MDP MPs including MP Eva Abdulla, MP Ahmed Easa and MP Mohamed Shifaz were present.

“When the group entered into the Republican Square, police confronted the group with their battons and claimed that when the violence arose, confrontations were going on even between civilian groups,” read the report.

The HRCM said the constitution, in article 46, stated that a person could be arrested only if they are found committing a crime; there was valid reason to believe they may commit a crime, there were evidence that a suspect had committed a crime or a court order had been issued approving such an action.

“…but the MNDF under the direct order of the president tired to arrest police officers who assembled at the Republican Square under the order of senior officials of police,” the report highlighted, implying that Nasheed’s order was unlawful.

The report highlighted that the situation escalated because of Nasheed’s alleged unlawful orders and because of it, a lot of civilians and police officers suffered injuries of varying nature.

Raiding of MNBC

At about 6:00am, the HRCM said were rumours were circulating that anti-government protesters were planning on entering the offices of state broadcaster, the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC), to take over the station.

The report claimed that on the night of February 6, a group of civilians with batons and sticks who had previously been in the MDP Haruge area were inside the MNBC offices, claiming to be on guard for an impending raid from the mutinying police and anti-government protesters.

Police officers arrived to the station in the morning of February 7, but were attacked from the civilians present, who were claiming to be handling the security of the station.

“Confrontations took place between police, who came in a pickup truck to MNBC building, and the civilians.  The civilians attacked the police with ground chili and other objects, including wooden sticks and stones, which forced the police to leave,” the report read.

According to the report, the police attempted to take over the station twice, succeeding the third time when they came along with several civilians who were presumed to be anti-government protesters.

It also claimed that the civilians who entered into the premises used foul language towards the employees of the station, with one civilian quoted by the report stating; “you’ve spread enough lies”.

The report claimed that the first person to enter the newsroom was a civilian with a metal rod, who entered the room and ordered all the staff to leave. However, the police later entered and told staff that they were present, but not to attack any employees.

People who entered into the MNBC offices then ordered staff to change the station’s feed to private broadcaster VTV’s feed.

“A person who claimed to be the representative of the vice president, along with a person representing the opposition came to the station and said that ‘from now onwards there will be no MNBC and the station would now be called TVM,’ and the name was changed following the demand,” read the report.

The HRCM, in the report, requested that police and the Police Integrity Commission look into the unlawful actions carried out by both the civilians and the police officers.

Alleged attempt to lynch Nasheed

Following remarks made on April 11 during a parliament committee meeting held with the members of HRCM, several MPs posed questions to the HRCM to determine whether they had knowledge that the opposition had plans on “lynching” Nasheed on the day his government was toppled.

Following the remarks, the HRCM in its report stated that it had questioned the police, the MNDF and Nasheed’s bodyguards.

The report also claimed that it had analysed statements that Nasheed gave to media after his resignation, however it said that no information from Nasheed was included in the report as he did not provide a statement.

Nasheed’s bodyguards in the report claimed that there was no threat posed to Nasheed’s life or any of his family members.

“When people call for the resignation of the president, it is not deemed to be a threat to his life, and it was not a situation where any extra measures have to be taken and if he had wanted to go out, it could have been arranged.  If the president sees a threat posed to him, the people whom he should first inform are his bodyguards, but the president had never said anything about a threat,” read the report.

The report added that the president had asked the MNDF officer if his family were safe, to which the officers replied that the family was safe and bodyguards were with them for protection from any impending harm.

“When Nasheed went to the Presidents Office from the MNDF barracks [to resign], there were a large crowd of people gathered near the car chanting disapproval of him, and some of the people in the crowd threw cigarette butts towards his car but despite how bad the situation was, Nasheed would have been easily transferred safely to anywhere he wished to go, and the MNDF officers had made way within the crowd gathered for his car to safely pass,” it read.

The report also stated that some military officers who had rebelled had “smacked” his car while he was being taken to the President’s Office on several occasions, but it was still a safe situation.

It also said that the President’s Office, when Nasheed arrived, appeared to be calm, with no signs of unrest inside the building at all.

“The commission finds in the investigation that following the obeying of orders given by President Mohamed Nasheed against the constitution, the international conventions, the police and military act by senior officials of the MNDF and Police, the chain of command among the police and military was broken, several MNDF and police officers and civilians got injured and large amount of public property was damaged.  Several rights were also compromised.

“The investigation also finds that there was no threat posed to President Mohamed Nasheed while he was in the MNDF Barracks on the day of February 7,” the HRCM report concluded.