PG asks Home Minister to block pornographic websites

Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin has asked the Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer to block websites displaying pornographic content.

Speaking to Minivan News, PG Office Spokesman Adam Arif stated that the PG had written to the home minister yesterday (February 11), noting that pornographic material encourages criminal activity and that possessing and producing pornography is prohibited in Maldivian law.

He also explained that the letter referred to the legal and constitutional duties of the state to prevent criminal activity and to uphold the tenants of Islam along with maintenance of the social fabric.

“The letter also requests the home minister to take action and inform the PG’s Office in a timely manner,” Arif said.


Yameen bring changes to state institutions following Nazim dismissal

President Abdulla Yameen has brought changes to a number of ministries and state institutions in the aftermath of Colonel (ret.) Mohamed Nazim’s dismissal as defence minister.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Mohamed Shainee was today appointed to the vacated acting health minister’s position, while Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has been appointed president of the Local Government Association (LGA).

Additionally, the Department of Immigration and Emigration – under Nazim’s remit as part of the defence ministry since December 2012 – has been reallocated to the Ministry of Economic Development.

Meanwhile, the President’s Office has revealed that Ibrahim ‘Bandhu’ Saleem has been removed from the post of Maldives Airports Company Limited’s managing director. Saleem confirmed this to Minivan News stating that no reason had been given for his dismissal.

President’s Office Spokesman Ibrahim Muaz explained that the president has the power and authority to appoint and dismiss political appointees and that specific reasons for a decision would be shared with the media when they were available.

Yesterday’s dismissal of Nazim came as a result of a police investigation into illegal weapons being kept in the minister’s home. He had been in the position since February 2012 – one of the first appointments made by President Dr Mohamed Waheed following the controversial resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nazim had been given the health portfolio after pro-government MPs blocked the renomination of Dr Mariyam Shakeela to the cabinet in August last year. Shakeela later alleged a conspiracy and smear campaign to remove her from office.

At the time of his dismissal, Nazim was also facing challenges from within the Local Government Authority, to which President Yameen had appointed him in November 2013. Last week fellow board members voted to remove him from the position of president following a contested vote of no-confidence.

Meanwhile, Haveeru has published corruption allegations against Nazim’s brother, State Trading Organisation Managing Director Adam Azim.

The paper reported that it has obtained a copy of an Anti-Corruption Commission report which says Azim attempted to use the state-owned company’s money to influence the Football Association of Maldives’ congress.

Haveeru suggested the report revealed attempts to have a relative appointed to the post of FAM president through sponsorship money given to football clubs with voting rights in the congress.

Elsewhere, the Judicial Services Commission today elected Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed as its chair.

Hameed was appointed to the judicial watchdog by President Abdulla Yameen yesterday after the commissions Supreme Court representative Adam Mohamed resigned from the commission on Sunday (January 18) citing personal reasons.

Related to this story

Nazim dismissed as defence minister, replaced by Moosa Ali Jaleel


Home Minister Umar Naseer to run for presidency in 2023

Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has announced he will run for the presidency in 2023 and has pledged to back President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for re-election in 2018.

“I am not a political threat to President Yameen. I am ready to work to help President Yameen get re-elected to presidency in 2018. What I may have said before, and the competition that existed between us before is a completely different matter. That has come to an end,” he said in an interview on state broadcaster Television Maldives’ Friday variety show ‘Heyyambo.’

Naseer lost to Yameen in the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) presidential primaries in 2013 and alleged the primaries were rigged. He accused Yameen of illicit connections with gangs and the illegal drug trade and vowed to bring a “white revolution” within the party.

The PPM expelled Naseer from the party and he backed Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim in the 2013 presidential elections. Naseer was appointed to the cabinet when Gasim’s backing proved crucial in PPM’s second round win.

Speaking on Heyyambo, Naseer said Yameen will “have no reason to contest again” by 2023 and said he himself will run for the presidency then. The Maldives constitution limits presidential terms to two five year terms.

Naseer ran for the presidency in 2008 and won 2,472 votes.

Coalition friction

Naseer expressed confidence that he will be able to sort out any differences within the government coalition, pointing to his prior experience working with Yameen and Gasim.

Friction within the coalition became apparent with Gasim warning the PPM against betrayal in a rally on April 13.

But Naseer asserted that Yameen and Gasim are working together in the national interest.

He also dismissed competitive words exchanged between the two coalition partners in the lead up to the 2013 presidential elections as “an attempt to choose the best leader from among those sharing the same ideology”, and said personal ambition has now “taken a backseat and national interest is what drives [us] today”.

“Although we walked over each other in the race to select a leader amongst those of us who holds the same ideology, once we have come out to the actual national race we have removed our personal jerseys and donned the national jersey. Today we are playing in the national uniform,” he said.

Extradite offenders

Naseer said he will amend laws which require police to present detainees to the Criminal Court with 24 hours of arrest and spoke of plans to extradite Maldivian offenders.

Maldivian offenders will not be able “to hide in any corner of the world,” Naseer said.

“No offender should delude themselves into thinking that they can flee from the Maldives and peacefully live elsewhere. That cannot be done. The first topic of discussion that I take up with leaders, Home Ministers and police leaders of every country I travel to is that in the instance there is a runaway Maldivian offender in the country, they should arrest them immediately and turn them over to the Maldivian authorities.”

He also spoke about a recent police raid where 79 youth were arrested from the island of Anbaraa during a musical festival, where all detained were reported to have tested positive for illicit drugs.

It is permissible for Maldivians to go on picnics, play loud music and have fun, Naseer said.

“But, there cannot be the abuse of drugs or consumption of alcohol. There cannot be DJs. If these kinds of things are being done, the police will go in and stop the activities. What I am saying is, you can party, but you cannot ‘Ambaraa'”.

Referring to the controversial order he had made unto the Maldives Correctional Services to implement death penalty, Naseer asserted that he had done so only on prior discussions with the President.

The Attorney General is currently drafting regulations for implementation of the death penalty on the cabinet’s request, he said. The government would only implement the death penalty if the Supreme Court upholds the sentence, he reiterated.

Speaking on the illegal drug trade, Naseer alleged that “powerful gangs from neighbouring countries” are involved in smuggling drugs into the Maldives.

Naseer identified population dispersion as the biggest obstacle for development and called for population consolidation.

“If the desired development is to be brought about, the approximately 400,000 inhabitants of this country will have to start living on three or five islands. We cannot bring the development otherwise,” he said.


Minister of Home Affairs orders the removal of “any material inciting hatred towards police”

Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer stated on Monday night that he had granted an order to police to remove any material which could be interpreted as “inciting hatred towards police”.

“I have notified every police officer and police station in the country of this order. I have ordered the removal of any material that may incite hatred towards the police – whether it is text, a drawing, a poster or a billboard – that is found in any area of the Maldives at any time.”

The Home Minister’s announcement was made during an event held in honour of retired Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, who has left the services to pursue a political career.

“For a long time now, there have been attempts of different levels to ruin the reputation of the police force and to create hatred amongst the public for this institution. This is something that has been done in other countries too. But the thing is, peace and stability have never been established in such countries,” Umar said.

Umar pledged to make the police force an institution which is loved and respected by all citizens.

Calling on educated youth to join the police forces, the Home Minister said that it is through employing young, capable, educated persons that the police force can be further strengthened and developed.

The Home Minister further pledged to “destroy gateways through which drugs are brought into the country”, as well as to eradicate all such networks.

The biggest problem faced by the Maldivian society is the issue of drug abuse, he suggested, stating that he had already begun to take necessary measures to eradicate such networks in the near future.

He promised that the police would play a huge role in the operation, and opined that it would be near impossible to bring down other crime levels without first handling the issue of illicit drug sale and abuse.

“We are coming out on a war against the issue of drugs. I hope we will get your full cooperation in these efforts. We will completely destroy drug trade networks,” he told the gathered officers.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed, meanwhile, advised the police to speak “gently and caringly” when addressing citizens, and to maintain equal treatment to everyone.

He then said that police should become an entity which rids the community of the currently spreading “hatred and discord”, and that is should aim to bring back unity amongst the people.

“Aim to enforce law, not gaining popularity”: VP Jameel tells police

During the same event last night, Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed stated that the police’s primary objective should be to ensure that they impartially enforce law, rather than whether or not they are garnering support and popularity.

Jameel stated that there are complaints that some of the police stationed in atolls work differently from the norms, saying that this leads to public disapproval and gives rise to concerns. He said that there should be no discrimination in the enforcement of law.

“Those who are mandated to enforce the law must not question the fundamentals of the law itself. Police must not question the substance of a law. It is not the police who decides whether or not the substance of a given law is solid. The law is already passed, and the police’s duty is only to enforce it,” Jameel said.

“If the citizens are being disturbed due to a loud speaker, you must be able to stop the loud speaker. If citizens are getting harassed on the street in a manner that disturbs them, and there is a law banning such action, you should be able to stop it. If there are laws made to assist the people, the police must be able to enforce it. I hope you will work in that manner,” he stated.

Jameel said that, although at a low level, it had previously come to his notice that police officers had acted on their own accord in certain cases, despite actions to be taken being specifically stated in law. He said that such actions had inhibited the growth and development of the institution.

He added that it was only when crime rates go down and stability is maintained that the police can be considered as having fulfilled their mandate to its fullest. He further called on the police to help the government implement a social protection system, saying that one of the strongest pleas of the public is to remove the political polarisation and to establish unity and oneness among the people.