The Prosecutor General (PG) has appealed the decision made by the Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court to release those arrested during the raid of the uninhabited island of Hodaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll .
According to local media reports, the PG filed the appeal with the High Court on Monday, but it remains unconfirmed as to whether the court has accepted the case.
Speaking to Minivan News, an official from the PG confirmed the appeal was filed but declined to provide any details as the case was pending in court.
Spokesperson for the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) Latheefa Gasim was not responding to calls at time of press.
The Maldives Police Services (MPS) on last Thursday night arrested two MPs and senior figures in the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), for the alleged possession of drugs and alcohol. Police in a statement released following the arrests claimed that 10 people were arrested during a ‘special operation’ on the island.
Among the arrestees wre ruling coalition Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdulla Jabir and MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – also the party’s international spokesperson – along with former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz.
The others arrested were Jadhulla Jaleel, Hamdan Zaki, two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana.
The island of Hodaidhoo was leased to Yacht Tours for resort development in January 2003. According to Haveeru, it was previously inhabited but the population was relocated to Haa Dhaal Hanimadhoo in 1997. Kaashidhoo MP Jabir is Chairman of Yacht Tours.
Police claimed they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island with a court warrant.
The arrests were made “based on information received by police intelligence,” police said. Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Haveeru that the suspects were arrested with alcohol and “hash oil”.
Following the arrests around midnight, the suspects were taken to Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal Atoll, and Zaki was hospitalised.
Despite a police attempt to extend the detention periods all suspects including the two MPs were released by the Kulhudhufushi Magistrate Court, with the exception of Hamdan Zaki.
The arrests were met with severe condemnation by the opposition MDP and the former Human Rights who both claimed that the arrests were politically motivated ahead of the parliamentary vote to make impeachment votes a secret ballot.
MDP claiming the arrests were a politically-motivated stated that it was an attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, and an amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret. A second no-confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel was withdrawn this week pending the outcome of the secret vote amendment.
“It is such a coincidence that whenever the Waheed government wants to frame those critical of their government, they come up with trumped up charges and very often it is something to do with alcohol,” said former MDP Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi, in a statement.
Wife of Jabir and former Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, who was sacked from her ministerial position following the outburst, claimed that the arrest was politically motivated to threaten MPs ahead of the parliamentary vote.
Saeed along with her husband gave a press conference following the release where she demonstrated through role play, the exact manner in which the police had brutalised her husband, acting out how and where the police had hit him.
“In my career, I have always had to take the side of the police and defend their actions, although I have never found it easy to accept their brutality towards citizens. But this time, I have seen too close the violence they dealt out. No one should be beaten up, regardless of what the charges for arrest are.” She said.
Meanwhile the Jabir claimed that the arrest seemed more like a “terrorist killing operation” that was intended to finish off the MPs who opposed the views of the government.
“We had gone there to have dinner and spend the night on the island, but at about 4:00am, when most of the group were asleep, we were confronted by hundreds of police. They said we were drinking alcohol, so I asked them to show a warrant and they didn’t have one. They then started hitting and beating us, they wanted to kill us,”
“This did not feel like a police operation, it felt like a terrorist killing operation and it should not be acceptable anywhere in the world,” Jabir told Minivan News at the time.
However, police maintained that they handled the operation very “professionally” and had not brutalised anyone while making the arrests. Police also released a video of the operation to the media.