Police confirm fourth stabbing incident in Male’ within 48 hours

The Maldives Police Service has confirmed that a man has been stabbed by a sharp object in Male’ this evening, the fourth such attack to have occurred during the last 48 hours.

However, authorities have said it remains too early to tell if the incidents may be linked.

A police spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News today that a male had been taken to ADK Hospital on Sosun Magu for treatment following the stabbing attack, but did not have further details on the victim or his condition at time of press.

According to local media, the victim was alleged to have been attacked with a “sharp object” by a group of attackers at about 6:20pm this evening.

Sun Online has reported that the victim fled into an electronics store in Male’, where he tried to shelter from his attackers. The attack was reported to have occurred in the store.

Police have said investigations are continuing, though no suspects had so far been identified in regards to today’s attack.

The attack marks the fourth stabbing incident to occur in Male’ within 48 hours, resulting a total of five people injured as police continue to search for suspects.

Two young men, 18 and 21 years-old, were stabbed near Azmi-Naeem Medical & Diagnostic Centre (AMDC) in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood at approximately 3:30pm yesterday (May 18) afternoon, a police media official told Minivan News at the time.

Meanwhile, two young men were also injured in separate stabbing incidents in Male’ on Friday (May 17).

The first stabbing took place near Star Cinema in Male’s Maafanu neighbourhood and was reported to police around 6:30pm. The 20 year-old victim suffered stab wounds to his chest and back, according to local media.

The second attack was reported to police at 7:00pm and occurred near Petrel cafe in Male’s Machangolhi neighbourhood. The victim, also a 20 year-old man, was stabbed in the back.

Since the start of 2013, 506 incidents of assault have been reported to police, with 51 cases having occurred so far this May.


Police probing MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy’s “contemptuous remarks” against judiciary

Police have begun investigating opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy for allegedly making “contemptuous remarks” against the  judiciary, during a TV program broadcast by opposition-aligned television station Raajje TV.

Fahmy told Minivan News that police called him on Wednesday and informed him that the case was being investigated on the judiciary’s request.

However police media official Sub-inspector Hassan Haneef said he was “unsure” whether  police were currently investigating the matter, but said cases concerning contempt of court previously been investigated and sent for prosecution.

Police sent a case concerning Imthiyaz Fahmy for prosecution in June 2012, requesting he be charged with disobeying orders, obstructing police duty and physically assaulting a female police officer during an MDP demonstration on May 29, that had followed the dismantling of the party’s protest camp at Usfasgandu.

In a subsequent statement condemning “excessive use of force” against demonstrators, Amnesty International staed that according to Fahmy, “police in Dhoonidhoo told him he was arrested for ‘disrupting peace’.”

The next day in court, police stated that he had been detained for ‘physically attacking a woman police officer.”

Fahmy denied the charges pressed against him by the prosecution.

Regarding the new police investigation, Fahmy claimed the judiciary was attempting to silence elected members of the public and that allegations of contempt of court were a facade.

“People elected me to find faults in institutions such as the courts find ways to reform them, to correct those faults. I have been elected as a member of parliament by the people to talk about such issues and that is my responsibility. It is a duty vested in me by the people and I will remain firm in executing that duty,” Fahmy told Minivan News.

He further claimed that discrepancies and flaws within the courts were already being widely discussed by the general public.

“The courts themselves do not comprehend the real meaning of the concept of judicial independence,” he claimed.

“They should also understand that dignity and honour is not a one-way train. It goes both ways. Their actions should be of a standard and performed in a transparent fashion so as to have dignity.”

In a statement issued during her visit to the Maldives in February 2013, United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul  stated that she had found that the concept of independence of the judiciary has been “misconstrued and misinterpreted” by all actors, including the judiciary itself, in the Maldives.

“The requirement of independence and impartiality does not aim at benefiting the judges themselves, but rather the court users, as part of their inalienable right to a fair trial,” Knaul stated in her concluding statement.

Beyond Knaul, Fahmy noted that several other international experts on judicial independence, including International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), judicial expert Professor Paul H Robinson, United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) as well as the report by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) – which was set up to look into the legality of the controversial ascension of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to presidency on February 2012 – had highlighted “serious flaws” within the judiciary.

“The first thing is that the judges were wrongfully reappointed. The constitutional provisions indicate that the judges were appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) wrongly without proper consideration being given to Article 285 of the constitution. That is unconstitutional,” he added.

Fahmy – who is a lawyer himself – claimed that other powers of the state including the legislature and the executive had been set up in accordance with the 2008 constitution and that it was only the courts and the judiciary that had failed to be established in accordance with the new constitution.

“Am I being punished for coming out and speaking the truth? What is so wrong in me reiterating the same facts that are being highlighted by several respected international authorities on the same issue?” he questioned.

Apart from Fahmy, cases against several other MDP MPs are either being currently investigated or being heard in the courts including that of MP Ali Waheed (the party’s Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader), MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor (the party’s spokesperson for international affairs), MP Abdulla Jabir, MP Mohamed ‘Matrix’ Rasheed and MP Ibrahim ‘Bondey’ Rasheed.

Charges faced by the MPs include contempt of court, obstruction of police duty as well as offence of consumption of alcohol.  According to the constitution, a member of parliament loses his seat should he be convicted of a criminal offense that requires serving a sentence longer than a period of 12 months.


“Some” cases from Hondaidhoo alcohol arrests sent to Prosecutor General

Police this week have completed an investigation into “some” of the 10 people arrested in November 2012 for alleged possession and consumption of alcohol on Hondaidhoo Island in Haa Dhaal Atoll, according to local media.

Upon completion of the investigation Tuesday (January 29), the cases were forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office, newspaper Haveeru has reported.

The identities of the accused and the nature of the cases sent to the PG have not been disclosed.  However two Parliament members – Kaashidhoo constituency MP Abdulla Jabir as well as Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson and Henveiru South constituency MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – were among those arrested in November 2012.

In addition to Jabir and Hamid, former opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Ibrahim Hussain Zaki and former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair, his wife Mariyam Faiz, Zaki’s son Hamdhan Zaki, Seenu Hulhudhoo Reefside Jadhulla Jameel, two Sri Lankans and a Bangladeshi were among the ten people arrested from Hondaidhoo.


MDP protesters will face terrorism charges: Home Minister Dr Jameel

The newly appointed Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel has warned of filing terrorism charges against those arrested over the destruction of public and police property during Wednesday’s late-night protests, which erupted across 10 islands in six atolls after the police attacked Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters’ peaceful march in Male’

Dr Jameel, the deputy leader of minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), was investigated by Nasheed’s government for ‘hate speech’ after his party published a pamphlet entitled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’, alleging that Nasheed’s government was part of a “Jewish Zionist conspiracy” seeking to “spread Christianity” and “undermine Islam in the Maldives”.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Dr Jameel claimed that “MDP is responsible for the unrest” since the crowd beaten by the police had come from a meeting of the MDP national council yesterday afternoon.

Police stations and vehicles on several islands were set on fire or taken over last night by protestors identified by the police and government as “MDP supporters”, while several magistrate courts on the islands and government offices were also burnt down.

“I believe these [attacks] fit as acts of terrorism as stated in the Maldives Terrorism Act,” Dr Jameel contended. “The law states those who commit such acts will face 10-15 years jail sentence or banishment… They will be brought in front of the law successfully and I will make sure it happens for the safety of our people.”

Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz who also spoke at the press conference, said that the police are continuing the search for attackers.

“Will utilise all the skills I have and resources at hand, to conduct an evidence based investigation into the attacks and forward the cases to the Prosecutor General’s Office to begin the court trails as soon as possible”, Riyaz added.

Meanwhile, MDP Parliamentary Group Leader Ibrahim Solih rejected the allegations that MDP had instigated the unrest. “We did not do anything wrong,” he claimed.

“All we wanted was to take a peaceful march around Male’. But near the Maldives Monetary Authority [MMA], military armed with shields stopped us from moving forward. And without any warning we were attacked with tear gas, while police Star Force marched in, beating us with batons,” Solih explained.

At least 50 individuals were seen at Male’ hospitals following the crackdown, and images circulating over social media and news outlets show several people with various injuries and blood stained clothes. Government hospital IGMH declared a state of emergency at 6:15pm last evening.

Party Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik was reported to be in critical condition following the attack. Giving an interview to local media Raaje TV from his hospital bed, Moosa claimed security forces “wanted to kill me.”

Nasheed also sustained injuries to his back, hands and head. He was kept in a safe house until some time last night, when he returned to his home in Male’. Although a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Criminal Court this afternoon, Police Commissioner Riyaz has said he will investigate the legality of the court order before taking action.

Following the events, Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) released statements, raising concerns over police actions and asking the police not to use brutal force against people.

Riyaz acknowledged the remarks and said the police would use “minimum force” to control such situations.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Dr Jameel contended that “we are not responsible” for the police’s actions yesterday afternoon, as Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and himself assumed their respective posts after the events.


Police summon DQP over anti-government allegations

Police have summoned Deputy President of Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Council member Ahmed Ibrahim “Sandhaanu Ahammaidhy” Didi for questioning over Dr. Jameel’s claims that the government is working with Christians to undermine Islamic scholars, made on DhiTV on Sunday, January 8.

The two men are being questioned between 8 and 9 pm.

Dr. Jameel told local media that police intended to clarify certain information and investigate his allegations against the state, which abides by a Shariah-based constitution.

“I am ready to face this,” Dr Jameel was quoted as saying. “When the government is pressured, when they deny the constitutional rights of the people, they come after anyone who questions their actions,” he claimed.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said action would be taken against any media who complicit in spreading false rumors that damage the government to the general public.

The President’s office has filed a case with the police against DhiTV.


House burns to ground in Gaaf dhaal Vaadhoo

A house in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Vaadhoo was consumed by fire last evening while its owner was out fishing.

Island Council President Mohamed Waheed told local media that all that remained of the two-room house after neighbors extinguished the fire were the walls.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, however police are investigating the incident.

The incident is the fifth case of possible arson to be reported in the last three weeks.

Early on the morning of December 26 a car belonging to a group of American scientists was set on fire in Addu. Locals observed that it was the first time such an event had taken place in the area, while council officials wondered whether the act was a result of rising religious tensions in the days since the December 23 protests for Islam.

Two days later, Noonu Atoll Miladhoo island council office was burned to the ground in what police suspected was an arson attack. Speaking to Minivan News at the time of the incident, Council President Hussain Ghassan said the council had received “several threats” from some people unhappy with the council, of which a majority sides with opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

On January 2, 2012, police arrested one suspect but did not provide details.

On the evening of January 3, a furnished but uninhabited house in Thaa Atoll Thimarafushi caught fire. Police said they suspected arson as there was evidence of an attempted break-in.

On January 4, the engine of a boat en route to Male’ from Kulhudhufushi carrying 175 passengers caught fire near Aarah in Male’ Atoll. Two passengers were injured.


CSC says Shakir retirement not linked to Facebook sex photo scandal

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has said that its decision to retire a former Director General of Male’ Municipality on his request was not linked to his suspension over a police investigation into his alleged appearance in the Facebook blackmail images.

CSC Director General Abdulla Saeed said that despite the suspension of Adam Shakir in relation to his alleged inclusion in graphic images obtained by a suspected online blackmail ring, the decision had been taken to grant his retirement and all related benefits as he had not been found guilty.

“Shakir requested to the commission (CSC) that he retire at his current age of 58 and according to the Maldivian Civil Service Act he was eligible to do so,” he said. “When the CSC got the request we decided to retire him.”

The Director General position at Male’ Municipality has since been changed to the title of secretariat for Male’ City Council.

Pointing to the Civil Service Act that outlines regulation for public sector employees, Saeed said that it was possible to retire staff once they reached 55 years of age. He added that Shakir’s suspension in relation to an ongoing police investigation had not impacted on this decision to grant retirement or his right to receive benefits as a result.

A number of high profile government and public figures are reportedly suspected of being depicted in the images already thought to be circulating the internet, although the CSC claimed it would not be acting on allegations alone.

“There is no relation between the suspension and the retirement decision. Shakir was suspended on information we had received but this has not gone to court yet and does not mean that he is guilty [of the allegations],” the CSC director general added. “Normally after a police investigation, it is for the court to decide whether a suspect is guilty.”

Newspaper Haveeru yesterday claimed that retirement had been granted on the grounds of the suspended civil servant’s health.

Although the investigation over the legitimacy of the alleged indecent images was continuing, Saeed said that Shakir was no longer a civil servant following his retirement and that there would not be a review of the decision to grant retirement benefits following the outcome of any potential trial in the future.

Blackmail investigation

The investigation into the alleged Facebook blackmail scandal has not yet led to any arrests regarding those alleged to have obtained or appeared in the images, though police have stressed that they are continuing to look into the case.

Police Sub Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News today that officers were unable to confirm the identity of any individuals under investigation on suspicion of involvement or inclusion in the videos and images due to the “complex nature” of the potential crimes. However, Shiyam confirmed that the CSC has sent information to the police that is was currently looking into as part of its investigations.

On Saturday, the Maldives Police Service confirmed that it was now holding four individuals in custody over their suspected involvement in the alleged plot to blackmail high profile figures with graphic images obtained via social network site Facebook after releasing another three suspects as part of its investigation.

The case first came to light in February, when police revealed that 14 individuals including a minor had been arrested on suspicion of obtaining hundreds of nude pictures and videos that were stored on computers and external hard drives. It was alleged that these images had been obtained through fake Facebook profiles that used the identical image of a young woman.

Police said at the time that two profiles with the names of ‘Lyshiaa Limanom’ and ‘Angelic Sharrown’ respectively were used by the suspects to gather files of individuals pictured in some cases performing explicit acts in the presence of minors. Investigators stated that they would also be investigating people pictured in the files to verify if any crimes had actually been committed within the images themselves.