Police deny framing Nazim as former Commissioner alleges politicisation

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has denied allegations it is framing former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, who faces charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

In response to the claims made by Nazim’s legal team that dangerous weapons were planted in his home, police stated that “nothing was done in violation of procedures, regulations and laws in the investigation of the case”.

“Saying that police brought items into Nazim’s apartment” is untrue, read the police statement, describing such accusations as “baseless” and as “efforts to accuse the police in order to deceive the public to achieve particular goals”.

Nazim’s legal team – which alleges officers spent ten minutes unsupervised in his room during the raid – has appealed against the Criminal Court’s decision.

Meanwhile, former Police Commissioner and Jumhooree Party MP Abdulla Riyaz has expressed concern over what he described as “politicisation of the police”.

In a joint rally by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the JP last night Riyaz suggested: “We are now witnessing the realization of political agendas through the police force.”

“When I was there, the institution was free from political influence,” he added.

Riyaz was appointed the Commissioner of Police immediately after the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, 2012, following a mutiny by sections of the security forces.

He was replaced after President Abdulla Yameen assumed presidency in November 2013, joining the then pro-government Jumhooree Party soon after and winning the Kinbidhoo constituency seat in the 2014 Majlis polls.

While the police received extensive criticism from opposition groups for their role in the transfer of power, and the brutal suppression of protesters the following day, Riyaz himself was investigated by the Police Integrity Commission for appearing to campaign against Nasheed’s 2013 presidential bid.

Riyaz re-posted a letter he claimed to have been sent, urging the police to “say no” to Nasheed on election day, just as they had on February 7.

The MP announced he would be joining Nazim’s legal team shortly after his arrest earlier this week, as did Adhaalath Party Spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir.

Riyaz was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Foul play

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed told Minivan News today that police officials had informed the Criminal Court under oath that the investigation had been completed and sent to the PG’s Office.

Yesterday’s police statement, however, noted that investigations into his case – including the “forensic process” – had not been concluded.

“Virdhan from Maldives Police Services who was under oath, stated in the remand hearing that although some forensic work is not fully complete, the investigation of the case has been completed,” explained Hameed.

Therefore, he said that the legal team has today asked the Criminal Court to provide them with transcripts or audio recording of the remand hearing.

He also stated that they have submitted a defamation case against the Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed for telling the press on January 29 that an improvised explosive device was found in Nazim’s home.

Hameed argued that the explosive device had not been found during the initial search, and was not listed in a record of items found, explaining that police only announced its discovery days later after an analysis conducted without independent oversight.

The legal team has also raised questions over why Nazim was arrested after more than 20 days had passed since the police raid on his residence.

He was dismissed as the defence minister two days after the January 18 raid, which police have maintained was ordered without knowing the identity of the residents.

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