Man sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for sexually abusing a minor

A man convicted of the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the Criminal Court.

An official from Criminal Court told local media that Afrah Hussain of Maavaidhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll was sentenced following witness testimonies proving he had been involved in sexual activities with a minor in Hulhumale’ on May 30, 2011.

Local media reported that the state had also pressed charges against Afrah Hussain for owning pornographic material.


Man arrested in connection to March 5 unrest

Police have arrested a 26 year-old male in connection to unrest at a protest outside Male’ City Council on March 5, local media reported.

Hussain Abdullah, of Blue Bird house in Male’, was arrested on Monday (March 11) after police posted a video online searching for individuals who had allegedly caused unrest during the protest.

The demonstration on March 5 followed the arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed ahead of his scheduled trial hearing at Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court the next day (March 6).


Man sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for importing 0.8 grams of Xanax

A Maldivian man has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a MVR 50,000 (US$3,217) fine for importing less than one gram of a widely prescribed anti-anxiety drug.

Shafeeq Ibrahim of Seeni Hithadhoo, Soama was sentenced by the Criminal Court after confessing to importing drugs into the Maldives after arriving in Male on flight on October 7, 2012, local media reported.

A test of the substance that was carried into the country in two packets revealed it to contain 0.8314 grams of the commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug Alprazolam, also known as Xanax.

Director Department of Judicial Administration Ahmed Maajid told Minivan News on Monday (March 11) that Shafeeq had not been caught with any substance other than Alprazolam.

“It is a pharmaceutical drug, but it is included in Schedule 2 of the Narcotics Act, and it is, by virtue of the act, an offence to import it [Alprazolam] unless it is by a licensed pharmacy,” Maajid said.

Despite the Xanax being the most popular psychiatric drug in the United States – according to American publication Forbes – Australian media reported the pharmaceutical drug to be as “addictive as heroin and harder to stop using”.

Criminal Court has ordered Shafeeq to pay the MVR 50,000 within a period of one month, according to local media.

Death penalty for illegal drug smuggling: NDA

In February, National Drug Agency (NDA) Chairperson Lubna Zahir called for the death penalty for those found to be importing illegal narcotics into the Maldives.

Speaking on state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM), Lubna claimed that drug importation needed to be in the same category as murder.

“We can only prevent drugs from coming into the Maldives by implementing the death penalty against them. Importing drugs is not a less serious crime.

”One solution to this is to implement the death penalty against those who bring in drugs and commit murder,” Lubna said.

Lubna requested parliament include the death penalty as the most severe punishment for drug smugglers when passing relevant laws.


US citizen arrested for funding Maldivian terrorist in Lahore bombing

A US citizen has been charged in the States with conspiracy to provide material support to a Maldivian terrorist who helped carry out a deadly attack in Pakistan in 2009.

48-year-old Reaz Qadir Khan, a waste water treatment plant operator for the city of Portland, US, was arrested on Tuesday (March 5) on a charge of providing advice and funds to Maldivian national Ali Jaleel.

On May 27, 2009, Jaleel – along with two other men – stormed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Lahore and detonated a car bomb that left around 23 people dead and a further 300 injured.

Prior to the attack, US media reported that in 2006 Khan had received an email from Jaleel “goading” him about his past devotion to seek martyrdom for Allah.

“Where are the words you said with tears in your eyes that ‘we shall strive until Allah’s word is superior or until we perish’???” the email stated, according to US publication The Oregonian.

Following the message, Khan had then allegedly communicated and provided financial backing through email to Jaleel and his family, making it possible for the Maldivian to attend a training camp in Pakistan ahead of the 2009 bomb attack.

The emails cited in the indictment against Khan – sent in October and November 2008 – were said to have included a coded note from Jaleel telling Khan that he needed US$2,500 to pay for admission into a terrorist training camp.

The Oregonian reported that Khan had replied to Jaleel instructing him to pick up the training camp money from one of his associates.

Jaleel, who later responded saying he only needed US$1000 of the US$2,450 that had been sent, was then advised by Khan to send the remaining money to his two wives in the Maldives, The Oregonian reported.

The indictment does not cite that there had been any other emails between November 2009 and the May 27, 2009 ISI attack.

However, US media reported that less than a week after the bombing, US$750 was wired from Khan to one of Jaleel’s wives from an Oregon store.

Khan, who has pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Tuesday, could face life imprisonment if he is convicted at trial, US media reported.

According to The Oregonian, Khan must now remain in his Portland home until his trial on the terrorism-related charge begins.

Local media reported that Jaleel, who lived at H.Moscowge in Male, featured in a video on the internet showcasing his terrorist training and subsequent attack.

A member of Jaleel’s family told local newspaper Haveeru back in November 2009 that he had left “around a year ago” and that there had been “no further communication with him”.

Jaleel had been caught once before whilst on jihad and was sent back to Maldives. On 26 December 2006, he was also sentenced to two years’ house arrest for giving religious sermons and preaching without a licence, local media reported.

“Martyrdom was certain”

In a video released by Al Qaeda’s media outlet, 30-year-old Jaleel, referred to as Mus’ab Sayyid, can be seen speaking in front of the camera surrounded by an assortment of weaponry.

Jaleel calls for his teachers and those he knew who had taken the status of scholars to visit the Mujahideen and make “decisions” based on what they saw.

“I want my blood to be the bit of the carpet which the Mujahideen have painted from their blood. The red carpet which would take the Umar to its glory,” Jaleel says in the video.

The footage shows Jaleel going through various stages of training, including throwing what appears to be a hand grenade and firing various weapons. The video then cuts to footage of the attack.

A white van carrying armed men pulls up to what appears to be a police check point, before two men disembark and open fire on various individuals manning the post.

The van continues through the checkpoint before briefly stopping beside two men who had hidden behind a barricade, at which point the armed men appear to shoot them from inside the vehicle.

The video then shows the same white van pulling up to a large gate, before detonating the explosives.

The Pakistani government said at the time that the car bomb attack was carried out in apparent revenge for an army offensive against Taliban militants in that nation’s north-western Swat region.


Body of 53 year-old man found in Male’

The body of a 53-year-old man has been found in a house in Male after the public notified police of a foul smell in the area.

Speaking to local media on Saturday (February 23), Head of Serious and Organised Crime Department Chief Inspector Mohamed Daud said the dead man found at M Ever Free had been identified as Mohamed Ali Ismail of Faafu Dharanboondhoo Finifenmaage.

According to local media, police suspect the man to have died of natural causes.


Man dies during MNDF military training programme

A man has died while taking part in a military training program in Addu City yesterday (February 23), local media reports.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Media Officer Abdulla Ali told local media that the man, 24 year-old Ismail Habeeb of Seenu Feydhoo Dhunnikage, died whilst taking part in swimming training.

Local media reported that Habeeb had just completed his 200 metre swimming test before suddenly drowning as he touched the finish mark.

Ali said instructors had jumped in and taken him out of the water within five seconds, and took him to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital immediately.

The MNDF media officer said the hospital had confirmed Habeeb’s death, but said the official cause of death can only be confirmed after a review of the doctor’s reports.


Twelve men arrested in Maafannu for gambling

Police have arrested 12 men for gambling inside a house in Male’s Maafannu ward last night at about 2:15am.

According to police, police intelligence received information that a group of people involved in robberies occurring in Male’ were gambling inside Ameera Manzil (a house in Maafannu ward).

Police obtained a search warrant from the court and searched the house last night, and in their presence of the men, discovered four packets of illegal drugs, the chip sets they used, and Rf24,193 (US$1612).

The arrested 12 men were aged between 19 and 30 and all were male, police said.

According to police statistics revealed by Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, 112 premisises have been searched so far in this year leading to the arrest of two alleged drug lords.

Riyaz said that so far this year police have conducted 6311 searches of people suspected suspected of using illegal drugs .

Gambling is strictly prohibited in Islam, and anything prohibited under Islam is illegal in the Maldives.


17 year-old claims he was beaten by 22 police officers behind stadium

Police are investigating reports of a person being beaten in police custody, after a 17 year-old boy told Minivan News he was arbitrarily arrested on Boduthakurufaanu Magu on Saturday night before being driven in a police vehicle to a dark spot near Male’s artificial beach where he was violently beaten by officers with batons.

The 17 year-old told Minivan News that he had been on the phone in front of a police officer’s house earlier that day, before the officer came out of the building and confronted him.

“I did not answer him and asked him to wait, as I was on the phone,” he said. “Later that night, while I was on Boduthakurufaanu Magu near the ‘Ekuveni Stadium’ in Galolhu, I saw police officers searching for me with a picture of me in their hands.”

As soon as he neared the stadium, all the police officers jumped on him and locked him inside police vehicle, he claimed.

”They said I had tried to attack a police officer by waiting near his house, and said I was not to threaten the police. They took me near artificial beach,” he said.

”It was around midnight when we reached the beach. All of the officers got out of the police bus and took me to a dark area near ”Andhiri Stage” [literally ‘Dark Stage’- a stage formally used to perform music shows but now unused].

The 17 year-old said the squad, consisting of “around 22″ police officers then started beating him simultaneously with their batons.

”They kept saying that it was what someone would get for trying to attack police,” he explained. ”They kept beating me until they received an urgent call to attend a fight that was occurring near Bandeyrikoshi, so they took me with them to the crime scene in the police bus.”

He said that one of the groups involved in the fighting had fled before the police arrived, but that the other group attacked police while he was kept inside the vehicle.

”They arrested some of the boys and drove to drop them off to police custodial,” he said. ”They were planning to drop them off and take me back to the artificial beach to beat me again.”

However, when the bus reached police custodial, the 17 year-old said he jumped out of the bus and ran inside the building, where he begged for help from a Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) officer who was on duty at the time.

”He told me to stay inside the interview room, then went outside and shouted at the police officers who had attacked me and told them that they couldn’t touch me again,” he said.

The boy said he went to meet President Mohamed Nasheed last night during the launch of a campaign office for an MDP candidate ahead of the local council elections, and told him what had happened to him.

”He was shocked to hear what the police officers told me inside the vehicle – they said they would make the people turn  against ‘Anni’ (the President’s nickname) and would make citizens run after him with swords,” the boy alleged.

The boy said he had attended hospital for treatment and an X-ray of his injuries, where doctors discovered his spine had suffered internal injuries.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that police had received reports of a person who was tortured while in police custody, and were now investigating the incident.