MDP denounces ‘arbitrary arrest’ of senior party official

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has raised concern over what they called the “arbitrary arrest” of its deputy secretary general yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Anas Abdul Sattar said police officers approached him at the waiting room in the ADK hospital in Malé at 3pm while he was waiting with his wife for a doctor’s consultation.

He was told to come with the officers to the police headquarters to clarify information.

Police officers did not have a court warrant, he said.

When Anas’ wife’s consultation with the doctor was completed, police officers did not allow Anas to take her home, but “forced” him to go to the headquarters in a police vehicle, he said.

At the headquarters, police officers told him he was accused of an offence and said they required a statement, but did not provide details on the offence.

Anas then requested for legal counsel.

Police officers later said they had only wanted to meet with some senior officials of the MDP to seek information about the opposition’s ongoing protests over the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, he said.

The MDP is organising a third mass protest on June 12.

Police have placed several restrictions on opposition protests, including a ban on the use of four-wheeled vehicles without prior permission, since a crackdown on a historic demonstration on May 1.

Anas was released at 5:30pm.

“It is very disappointing when the police are able to take anyone at any time without any attention to the state or circumstances they are in,” he said.

He also raised concern over how the police had found out he was at the ADK hospital

“The police’s actions are very concerning. If they want to question an individual, it should be done through the official channels.”

The police denied today they had taken Anas to the police headquarters against his will. A spokesperson said Anas had come willingly on the police’s request.

However, the MDP vice chairperson Ali Shiyam today called the police’s actions arbitrary.

MDP vice president Mohamed Shifaz said the party has now asked the police to communicate with the party in writing, claiming the police only lecture party officials on democracy at meetings.