New police policy to protect identity of suspects until prosection

The police have introduced a new policy which will protect the identity of persons taken into police custody until the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) charges them in court.

Newspaper Haveeru has reported a police media official as saying that the police will no longer reveal the names of suspects arrested before they are officially charged in the court – though it was noted that this policy remains at the discretion of senior officers.

The paper noted that police had not revealed the names of suspects arrested in connection with the stabbing of former MP for Feydhoo constituency Alhan Fahmy.

Haveeru reported that the official told the paper that the new policy was made after an agreement signed between the police and PGO.


Police seek criminal charges against 18 year-old pair for refusing to submit to search

Police have requested the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) press criminal charges of “disobedience to an order” against a pair of 18 year-olds who refused to submit to a search by police officers on patrol.

According to police media, officers on patrol attempted to search Hussain Hassan, of Ghaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo Semy, and Ahmed Sanij Sodiq, of Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo Melon House, around 9:30pm on September 26 near the old Jamalludheen School building in Male’ “based on their [suspicious] behaviour”.

The pair allegedly refused to submit to the search and “obstructed policy duty.”

Article 88(a) of the Penal Code states, “It is an offence to disobey an order issued lawfully within the  Shari’ah or Law; a person guilty of this offence shall be subjected to a punishment of exile or imprisonment or house detention not exceeding 6 months or fine not exceeding MVR 150.00.”

Article 47(a) of the constitution however states, “No person shall be subject to search or seizure unless there is reasonable cause.”

While in government, the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) accused former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of using his influence on the judiciary to target MDP members using article 88(a) of the outdated penal code, which was drafted in the 1960s.

“What we are seeing today is, quite simply, a concerted attempt by the old guard to reassert itself. Having lost the presidency, and having recently lost control of the parliament, Gayoom and his allies are trying to win back power through the last non-violent channel open to them: the courts,” MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said in a statement on October 25, 2011.

“Worse, Gayoom’s allies and the courts are using the notorious article 88(a) of the Criminal Code – a broad catch-all provision on ‘disobedience to order’ used by Gayoom when he was President to attack and imprison political opponents. Mohamed Nasheed, now President, was arrested and prosecuted dozens of times under article 88(a), as were many other pro-democracy activists.”

Meanwhile, at a press briefing on Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner of Police revealed that officers on patrol after midnight have questioned 2,930 individuals in the past few weeks and prepared their profiles.

The Head of Central Operations Command explained that police have been “questioning people awake and out on the street without a purpose after midnight” as part of an ongoing operation to curb crime in the capital.

Saudhi also claimed that the government’s decision to revoke licenses of businesses to operate 24-hours has led to a decrease in the crime rate.


Former Post Limited MD faces corruption charges

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has requested the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) to prosecute former Managing Director of the Maldives Post Limited (MPL), Mahudy Imad, for alleged abuse of authority.

In a press statement today, the ACC said it forwarded the case to the PGO on December 28 after completing an investigation into a complaint accusing Mahudy of using his influence to send an employee overseas for a law degree.

The complainant had alleged that funds were not allocated in the MPL budget for the course and that other employees were not invited to apply for it.

In its inquiry, the ACC found that Mahudy had abuse his authority to secure the course for the employee, who had reportedly been working at MPL as an administrative staff for less than a year before leaving to Malaysia for the course.