Police have confirmed the release of 44 individuals arrested from Anbaraa Island during a raid on a music festival on April 18.
A total of 79 suspects were taken into police custody from the island of Anbaraa in Vaavu atoll, all of whom were suspected of being under the influence of drugs, or had drugs on their person, according to police. On Tuesday (April 22) 19 women were transferred to house arrest.
After release of 44 individuals last night, there are currently 32 men still in police custody.
“We have 32 males [under arrest] , those who were in house arrest they are also released except for three,” confirmed a Police spokesperson.
“The investigation is completed now – so today some might be relsead, and some might be taken to court for extended custody,” the spokesperson added.
The Drug Enforcement Department, Specialist Operations, police intelligence department, and the forensic department conducted the operation, Satheeh told Minivan News previously.
Upon searching the island as well as the 198 partygoers, Satheeh said police discovered different types of drugs and more than MVR90,000 (US$5,836) in cash.
In addition to beer cans, the drugs confiscated from the island included pills, LSD stickers, and hash oil joints as well as rubber packets, cellophane packets, and film canisters containing cannabis, Satheeh said.
However, the raid of the island and subsequent arrests have been an issue of contention, with some arguing that the Police’s actions were a breach of human rights.
In a recent article published on Minivan News, Mushfique Mohamed contended that the arrests at Anbaraa underpinned by a political and constitutional motive, with police using the arrests as a means of “garnering support along ultra-nationalist and Islamist lines.”
The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has denied allegations by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that constitutional rights and procedures were violated in the arrest of 79 youth last weekend from a music festival in an uninhabited island.
In a press release issued in response to a statement yesterday by the MDP’s rights committee, police insisted that all the suspects taken into custody from Vaavu Anbaraa were informed of their constitutional rights as well as the reason for the arrest.
“In addition, they were informed in writing of the reason for their detention in accordance with the law, and they were told that they had the right to legal counsel,” the press release read.
It added that all suspects detained from Anbaraa were brought before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest. Police also noted that the island was raided with a court order.