Adhaalath Party, Jumhooree Party leaders charged with terrorism

Adhaalath Party (AP) president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party (JP) deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim and JP council member Sobah Rasheed have been charged with terrorism for allegedly inciting violence during the May Day anti-government demonstration.

The prosecutor general’s (PG) office reportedly filed the terrorism charges at the criminal court today. The charges under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act carry a sentence of between 10 to 15 years in prison.

Imran and Ameen were arrested after the May Day protest and accused of encouraging violence in their speeches, which police contend led to protesters assaulting police officers, damaging property, and disrupting public order and safety.

Sobah Rasheed was arrested from an opposition street protest on May 3.

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed was also arrested on May 1, but the PG office has reportedly not made a decision on prosecuting the former MP.

The terrorism charges follow President Abdulla Yameen’s invitation for separate talks with the three allied opposition parties. Imran, Ameen, and Ali Waheed are among the representatives of their respective parties.

Following his release last week after 26 days under police custody, Imran denied the allegations of encouraging violence. The police had also accused the opposition leaders of threatening President Yameen and other senior government officials.

More than 20,000 people took to the street on May 1 calling for the release of imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, whose arrests sparked the ongoing political crisis.

The May Day demonstration was the largest anti-government protest in over a decade.

Nasheed was charged with terrorism over the detention of a judge during his tenure and sentenced to 13 years in prison in March.

The PG office has also filed terrorism charges against the driver of a pickup that broke through police lines during the May Day demonstration.

The pickup used at the protest drove through barricades and the line of Specialist Operations police officers at high speed and was stopped near the Islamic centre.

The police said at the time that the driver was instructed and paid by protest organisers to break through the police lines.

Riot police cracked down on the May Day demonstration with tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges after protesters attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square at dusk.

Nearly 200 people were arrested and scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes.

The opposition alliance has meanwhile called for a mass protest on June 12.

The terrorism charges against Sheikh Imran also comes after President Yameen threatened to prosecute the religious conservative party’s leader over allegations linking the president to the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in October 2012.


Police continue investigation of opposition leaders; criminal court denies arrest warrant

Youth Minister Hassan Latheef has said that police have commenced another investigation into the activities of People’s Alliance (PA) party leader Abdulla Yameen and Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim.

Latheef said police had requested the criminal court issue a warrant for the arrest warrant of the pair, but this was denied.

”The criminal court declined to issue the warrant saying there were no grounds to issue an arrest warrant for the second time,’’ said Latheef. ”But this is a whole different case.’’

Latheef said that when police requested the criminal court issue the arrest warrant, the court referred to the recent case and issued a statement signed by the chief judge of the criminal court denying the police request.

”The case concerns the influence of independent commissions,’’ Latheef said. ”We do not accept the criminal court’s denial of the police request.’’

He said that attempts by police to investigate allegation of corruption and bribery were not intended to threaten and intimidate political figures.

”We are currently monitoring to see if there are any judges involved in corruption and bribery,’’ Latheef said, adding that ”we are not saying that judges have been involved in such activity.’’

He declined to reveal the names of the judges being observed and the courts they belonged to, claiming it would obstruct the observation.

”If there are fair and independent judges in courts, we will succeed in this case,’’ Latheef claimed.

Under Secretary for the President’s Office, Ibrahim Rasheed, promised the government would listen to the voice of people.

”We will investigate any act of aggression,’’ he said. ”The government will not cease its effort to eliminate corruption and bribery.”