Criminal Court declines to issue warrant for police to dismantle MDP campsite at ‘Usgandu’

The Criminal Court has said it cannot issue a warrant to police to dismantle the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest camp site at ‘Usgandu’, after deciding the matter was not within its jurisdiction.

The Criminal Court said it had studied the documents presented by the police along with the court warrant request form, and decided that the warrant was not within its capacity to grant.

Police have said they are now studying the  further to decide what action to take over the ‘Usgandu’ issue. The site, which had been granted to the MDP by Male’ City Council, was recently reclaimed by the Housing Ministry which then ordered police to evict the MDP protesters.

Meanwhile, local media has reported that Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz has sent a letter to MDP Acting Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik asking him to come to the Housing Ministry at 5:00pm on Wednesday  to discuss the issue and find a peaceful solution.

The Housing Minister told the media that ‘Usgandu’ was now under the auspices of the Ministry and that the MDP would have to communicate with the ministry in an matter anything concerning the area.

Police applied for a court warrant on Monday after the Home Ministry police to dismantle the ‘Usgandu’ and return the land to the Housing Ministry, following a cabinet decision.

Moosa Manik subsequently claimed that if police dismantled the MDP protest camp at Usgandu, protests would erupt all across Male’.

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, Male’ City Council allocated the empty area near the tsunami monument to the MDP, which set up a protest camp at the site.

However on March 19, hours after President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik delivered his inaugural speech to the parliament, security forces raided the area, dismantled the camp and painted over anti-government graffiti, removing all trace of the MDP from the area.

Male’ City Council subsequently granted Usgandu to the MDP to conduct their political activities until the end of June. The MDP has meanwhile filed a case in the Civil Court contesting the dismantling of the tsunami monument, a case was today suspended on an order from the High Court.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has recently stated that the government had “better things to do than dismantling MDP protest campsites.”