Adhaalath Party, Jumhooree Party leaders charged with terrorism

Adhaalath Party (AP) president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party (JP) deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim and JP council member Sobah Rasheed have been charged with terrorism for allegedly inciting violence during the May Day anti-government demonstration.

The prosecutor general’s (PG) office reportedly filed the terrorism charges at the criminal court today. The charges under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act carry a sentence of between 10 to 15 years in prison.

Imran and Ameen were arrested after the May Day protest and accused of encouraging violence in their speeches, which police contend led to protesters assaulting police officers, damaging property, and disrupting public order and safety.

Sobah Rasheed was arrested from an opposition street protest on May 3.

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed was also arrested on May 1, but the PG office has reportedly not made a decision on prosecuting the former MP.

The terrorism charges follow President Abdulla Yameen’s invitation for separate talks with the three allied opposition parties. Imran, Ameen, and Ali Waheed are among the representatives of their respective parties.

Following his release last week after 26 days under police custody, Imran denied the allegations of encouraging violence. The police had also accused the opposition leaders of threatening President Yameen and other senior government officials.

More than 20,000 people took to the street on May 1 calling for the release of imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, whose arrests sparked the ongoing political crisis.

The May Day demonstration was the largest anti-government protest in over a decade.

Nasheed was charged with terrorism over the detention of a judge during his tenure and sentenced to 13 years in prison in March.

The PG office has also filed terrorism charges against the driver of a pickup that broke through police lines during the May Day demonstration.

The pickup used at the protest drove through barricades and the line of Specialist Operations police officers at high speed and was stopped near the Islamic centre.

The police said at the time that the driver was instructed and paid by protest organisers to break through the police lines.

Riot police cracked down on the May Day demonstration with tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges after protesters attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square at dusk.

Nearly 200 people were arrested and scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes.

The opposition alliance has meanwhile called for a mass protest on June 12.

The terrorism charges against Sheikh Imran also comes after President Yameen threatened to prosecute the religious conservative party’s leader over allegations linking the president to the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in October 2012.


May Day protest pickup driver faces terrorism charges

The prosecutor general’s (PG) office has filed terrorism charges against the driver of a pickup that broke through police lines during the mass anti-government protest on May 1.

The pickup used at the protest drove through barricades and the line of Specialist Operations (SO) police officers at high speed and was stopped near the Islamic centre.

The police said at the time that the driver was instructed and paid by protest organisers to break through the police lines.

The police have also forwarded cases to the PG office against main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed, Adhaalath Party president Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party (JP) deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim, and JP senior member Sobah Rasheed.

The PG office media official told Minivan News today that it has not determined whether to press charges against the opposition leaders.

The leaders of the allied parties are accused of inciting violence in their speeches during the demonstration, which police contend led to protesters assaulting police officers, damaging property, and disrupting public order and safety.

With the exception of Imran, the others had exercised the right to remain silent during the police interrogation. The three were arrested in the wake of the May Day protest, while Sobah Rasheed was arrested from a street protest on May 3.

Imran, Ali Waheed remain in police custody after the criminal court extended their remand detention for a second time on Saturday.

Ameen was released by the High Court last week after the appellate court overturned the criminal court’s 15-day remand detention order.

The High Court, however, upheld the lower court’s order to hold Imran and Ali Waheed in custody. The pair has appealed the High Court’s ruling at the Supreme Court.

Nearly 200 protesters were arrested in a police crackdown on the May Day demonstration after protesters attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square at dusk.

The police have since banned the use of four-wheeled vehicles during street protests.

According to local media, the PG office has not pressed charges against the driver’s wife and another protester on the pickup. The case against the driver was reportedly filed at the criminal court on Tuesday.

Of the 193 protesters arrested on May 1, the PG office had previously said that cases of 98 protesters have been sent to the committee reviewing first time offenders.

“That means we will press charges against only about 30 people. That includes repeated offenders and the people suspected of attacking police officers at the protest,” PG Muhthaz Muhsin told the press on Sunday.

The pickup driver is the only protester facing terrorism charges, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. The other protester face charges of disobedience to order and obstruction of police duty.

Scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes on the night of May 1. Video footage shows protesters tripping and kicking an SO officer and one man hitting the policeman over the head with his baton.

Some 14 people have since been arrested on suspicion of assaulting the officer, who was flown to Sri Lanka for medical treatment.

On Tuesday, police appealed for public assistance in locating three more suspects: Abdulla Mufeed, Ahmed Miudhaan Hameed and Ahmed Unais.

The MDP has accused police of torturing and threatening to kill three suspects arrested for assaulting the police officer.

Other May Day detainees have also alleged that police beat them after their arrest from the protest, but police have denied the allegations and advised lawyers and families to file complaints at independent oversight bodies.


JP council member’s detention extended by 10 days

The criminal court has extended the remand detention of opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) council member Sobah Rasheed by ten days.

Sobah was arrested under a court warrant on May 3 from an opposition rally and held in police custody for 15 days. He is accused of inciting violence at a mass anti-government protest on May 1.

The high court yesterday upheld the criminal court’s initial 15-day remand.

The opposition has raised concern over what it calls unnecessary detention of opposition leaders, pointing out the constitution only allows the extension of remand if the accused is deemed a danger to society, if they may influence witnesses or might flee or if further interrogation is needed.

The criminal court on Sunday extended the remand detention of Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla and main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party chairperson Ali Waheed by 10 days and seven days, respectively.

The two were arrested on May 1 on charges of inciting violence and held in police custody for 15 days. The High Court last week rejected appeals from the pair challenging the legality of the criminal court’s remand detention orders.

Lawyers have filed a second appeal of the criminal court’s decision to extend remand detention.

The two were brought to Medica hospital in Malé for treatment yesterday. Ali Waheed was also brought to ADK hospital last week for an MRI scan of his spine.


Opposition parties deny signing agreement to topple government

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Jumhooree Party (JP), and Adhaalath Party (AP) have denied signing an agreement to topple the government.

A document was leaked to local media today purporting to be an agreement signed by leaders of the three parties to overthrow President Abdulla Yameen’s administration with the help of foreign benefactors.

“It is blatantly a big lie,” said MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed at a press conference of the ‘Maldivians against brutality’ alliance this afternoon.

Referring to an agreement signed between the MDP and JP last month, Waheed said the MDP would only sign an agreement “in front of the Maldivian people and the media” after seeking approval from the national council.

Waheed reiterated calls for President Yameen to initiate inter-party dialogue to resolve the current political crisis.

AP President Imran Abdulla said a “charter” for the opposition alliance has been drafted and was ready to be signed, insisting that an agreement has not been signed to date.

On the leaked documents, Imran suggested the government was trying “a different version” of the “pen drive philosophy” following public incredulity over confidential documents allegedly leaked from a pen drive confiscated from former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s apartment.

The documents published by online news outlet Vaguthu yesterday contained alleged plans by Nazim to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Accusing the government of leaking the false agreement to the media, Imran facetiously said the documents should have been discovered in bedside drawers of the opposition party leaders, referring to police allegedly discovering the pen drive along with a pistol and three bullets during a midnight raid on Nazim’s apartment on January 18.

The opposition maintains that Nazim was “framed” after rogue police officers planted the weapon, whilst the police chief has denied the allegations.

Imran suggested that the government’s intention with the leaked agreement was to “create doubts among the public towards us,” adding that such efforts were instead backfiring.

The government was losing public confidence and “exposing” themselves whilst the opposition was gaining strength and momentum, Imran contended.

JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim meanwhile noted that the party’s council has not officially decided to participate in the new alliance and insisted that JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim would not sign such an agreement.

Ameen referred to a similar “fake document” purporting to be an agreement between the MDP and JP ahead of the parties officially forming an alliance.

The alliance agreement was signed at a joint rally and made publicly available, he noted.

MP Ahmed Mahloof – who allegedly signed as a witness – said the leaked document was a sign of the government’s growing “desperation.”

Sheikh Imran, at the alliance’s street protest last night, said the opposition would bring an end to the government’s “brutality” through street protests.

Leaked agreement

According to newspaper Haveeru, several sources have confirmed the authenticity of the leaked agreement.

“The agreement – signed at Qasim Ibrahim’s Paradise Island Resort – highlights five key points. Said points are: to tackle, at any cost, President Yameen and his allies’ unconstitutional actions, to put an end to their gang-utilised harassment of citizens, politicians, and journalists, to bring the government’s unlawful actions to the attention of the international community and have international actors pressure the government, to increase support from parliamentarians and other organisations,” reads the Haveeru article.

The alliance was to form a steering committee both to oversee street protests and travel across the country to seek public support.

Moreover, the alliance would topple the government if President Yameen’s administration fails to heed its demands, the agreement stated, after which the parties would back Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed as the new president until the next presidential election.

Photo from Haveeru
Photo from Haveeru



“We will secure our rights from the street,” says Sheikh Imran

The opposition alliance will bring an end to the government’s “brutality” through street protests, Adhaalath Party (AP) President Sheikh Imran Abdulla declared last night.

Speaking at last night’s protest by the “Maldivians against brutality” alliance, Imran referred to President Abdulla Yameen urging the opposition to prove allegations of the government’s unlawful actions at court and to file complaints of alleged rampant corruption at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

“After buying people at high prices to gain a majority of the People’s Majlis, after changing the judiciary, and bringing all independent institutions under his fist, when he says ‘go to the institutions,’ the Maldivian people are not fools,” Imran said.

“We will end this from the street. We will secure our rights from the street.”

In a statement issued yesterday, President Yameen denied any knowledge of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim being “framed” and advised the AP leader to prove Nazim’s innocence at court.

Imran said President Yameen’s statement indicated progress in the opposition efforts, urging protesters to remain steadfast as the government would soon “sign a peace agreement”.

He also claimed that former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had pleaded with Yameen to release Nazim but was rebuffed.

Imran compared President Yameen to Hitler, who “never did anything against the law” as he had used the German parliament to change laws at will.

Calling on the government to end its “brutality” against former President Mohamed Nasheed, Colonel (Retired) Nazim, and Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim, Imran warned that the alliance would expose the truth of murders that have occurred in the country.

“First we will free these three leaders, then we start talking about the murders,” he said.

Protest march


Thousands of supporters took to the streets in the second consecutive night of the alliance’s protests, starting from the artifical beach area and marching down the capital’s main thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu.

Around 11:15pm, clashes occurred between protesters and riot police after Specialist Operations (SO) officers attempted to confiscate loudspeakers from the ‘sound lorry.’

With SO officers blocking their path, protesters split into two groups near the Maafanu cemetery, with one group marching into side streets led by MP Ahmed Mahloof – recently expelled from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives – and the other gathered near the cemetery.

The protest was officially called off for the night near the MDP’s main office on Sosun Magu around 12:15am.

A police media official told Minivan News today that three individuals were arrested at time, with two accused of disobeying police orders and one accused of attempting to harm a police officer. Among them was a journalist from Channel One.

Protester arrested

Invoking powers granted by Article 41 of the Freedom of Assembly Act, police issued a statement earlier in the day ordering protest organisers not to use loudspeakers or megaphones after 11:00pm and to end the protest at 12:00am.

Moreover, police warned protesters against repeatedly gathering in one location or street.

Police claimed to have received  numerous complaints from the public and businesses about disruptions caused by the nightly protests.

Police said businesses were adversely affected when roads had to be closed to traffic, causing “irreparable economic damage”.

Photos from Ranreendhoo Maldives


No intention of “jumping into the bandwagon of MDP,” says Umar Naseer

Home Minister Umar Naseer has declared that he has no intention of “jumping into the bandwagon of [opposition Maldivian Democratic Party].”

After contesting the 2008 presidential election as an independent candidate, Naseer refused to back either former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom or MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed.

The Jumhooree Party (JP) and Adhaalath Party (AP) had formed a coalition with the MDP ahead of the second round run-off between Gayoom and Nasheed. However, both parties left the coalition during the MDP’s three years in power.

Naseer’s remarks follow AP President Imran Abdulla claiming during a protest march last night that the home minister would soon join the opposition alliance.

Imran had said President Abdulla Yameen was keeping Naseer in the cabinet to undermine the latter’s popularity and bring him into disrepute.

Naseer had resigned from the JP last month in protest of the party’s decision to form an alliance with the MDP.

Speaking at a ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rally this week, Naseer suggested that former President Nasheed should be prosecuted on further charges for alleged offences committed during his presidency.


President Yameen denies knowledge of Nazim weapons set-up

President Abdulla Yameen today hit back at Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla’s claims the president was aware of the alleged framing of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim in an illegal weapons charge.

Sheikh Imran, speaking at the opposition Alliance Against Brutality last night, said he had met with President Yameen on March 3 and told the president he would have knowledge of the senior government officials involved in the set-up against Nazim.

“Even though it cannot be proven at the court, we told [President] Yameen that we have enough evidence to prove that Nazim was being framed, and told him to our knowledge the president was well aware of what had happened. But the president said he did not know,” Sheikh Imran told hundreds of opposition supporters.

The President’s Office issued a statement today denying Imran’s claim, stating President Yameen had responded to Imran’s allegations of framing, saying he was not aware “whether Nazim had been framed or not.”

Sheikh Imran had asked the president to withdraw charges against Nazim at the 1.5 hour meeting, but President Yameen told the six member Adhaalath Party delegation that he had no constitutional authority to withdraw charges pressed by an independent Prosecutor General following an independent police investigation, the statement said.

President Yameen then instructed Sheikh Imran to join Nazim’s defence team and mount a defence through the court if he had reason to believe Nazim was framed. The President also told Sheikh Imran the matter must be resolved through the courts, the statement continued.

Nazim maintains the pistol and three bullets found in a bedside drawer during a midnight raid were planted by rogue officers. However, the Criminal Court yesterday only called two out of 38 defence witnesses, claiming the witnesses presented by the defence did not appear to negate the prosecution’s claims.

The former Defence Minister alleges Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb had planned the set-up following a fallout over Adeeb’s alleged use of police officers to commit crimes, including the chopping down of all of Malé City’s Areca Palms. Both Adeeb and Maldives Police Services have denied the allegations.

Sheikh Imran last night also declared that the opposition would no longer tolerate President Yameen’s “brutality,” Adeeb’s alleged rampant corruption, unfair prosecution of political rivals, and “destruction of public property”.

In response, President’s Office said Imran should file any complaints of corruption with the Anti Corruption Commission.

The Adhaalath Party, Nazim’s family, high ranking Jumhooree Party (JP) officials and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) united against President Yameen’s alleged brutality last week.

The Alliance Against Brutality last night warned the government to initiate dialogue with the opposition or face the consequences.

“If [President Yameen] does not come to the [negotation] table, I would say he won’t have any other choice but to go home,” said JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim.


“Maldivians against brutality” alliance to launch activities tonight


The newly formed “Maldivians against brutality” alliance is launching its activities at 9:00pm tonight at the artificial beach.

Adhaalath Party (AP) President Sheikh Imran Abdulla made the announcement on behalf of the “national movement” at a press conference this afternoon, but declined to reveal any details of the activities planned for tonight.

Imran said the alliance has formed a 13-member steering committee to plan and oversee its activities, which includes representatives from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Jumhooree Party (JP), and NGOs.

MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed claimed that the country’s tourism industry was collapsing as a result of the government’s alleged efforts to “wipe out political opponents,” contending that the Maldives’ international reputation has been tarnished by “politically motivated trials.”

He stressed that the opposition alliance’s protests would take place within bounds of the law

MP Ahmed Mahloof – recently expelled from ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) – meanwhile alleged that Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb was behind the death threats issued via text message to several opposition politicians last year under the name “ISIS.”

He also repeated allegations of corruption against Adeeb, claiming that the PPM deputy leader gifted a US$70,000 BMW car and US$100,000 gold ring to First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim.

Adeeb has denied the allegations, claiming the MP had been bribed to defame him and President Abdulla Yameen.


Former bitter rivals unite against “brutality” of President Yameen’s government

Formerly bitter political rivals united against the alleged “brutality” of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration at the first rally of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Adhaalath Party (AP) alliance tonight.

Addressing a crowd of thousands at the carnival area in Malé, all speakers at tonight’s rally – including AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla, ‘Sandhaanu’ Ahmed Didi, former ruling party MP Ahmed Mahloof and MDP leaders – stressed that they bore no grudge against each other.

President Yameen’s “brutality” included the jailing of the former President Mohamed Nasheed after an “unfair” trial, the “framing” of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, the targeting of Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s businesses, and the “unconstitutional” removal of former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim and former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain.

The current administration was also accused of rampant corruption and using criminal gangs to attack peaceful opposition protests after assuring wayward youth immunity from prosecution.

Several speakers suggested that the prevailing atmosphere of fear was unprecedented, but expressed defiance in the face of threats from government-backed gangs.

AP President Sheikh Imran said toppling the government was not the alliance’s intention and called for President Yameen to join “peace talks” with the opposition.

“Choosing another way is in President Yameen’s hands,” he said.

In a symbolic gesture, a chair in the front row was kept empty for Nasheed, who was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison last Friday (March 13).

As the Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) official anthem song was used in between speeches, the defence ministry promptly put out a statement objecting to its use in a political rally.

“This institution believes that the use of the song for political purposes undermines the honour and dignity of the army,” the statement read.


10300231_943143845720279_183779219129665775_nMP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, MDP parliamentary group leader, assured JP members that the party was “standing up in [Gasim’s] defence.” Last month, Gasim’s Villa Group was ordered to pay the state US$100 million allegedly owed as unpaid rent and fines in 30 days.

As the government gears up to celebrate the upcoming golden jubilee of independence, all speakers contended that the Maldives was not free.

“Maldivians do not have independence as we celebrate 50 years of independence. Tonight, we start the fight for independence,” said JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim.

MP Ahmed Mahloof – who was expelled from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) – said the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012 spawned bitter divisions in the country, which appeared far too wide to ever be bridged.

However, Mahloof said former rivals speaking at one rally indicated “today is worse than yesterday, and even worse is to come.”

He urged PPM supporters to consider why he would withdraw support for a party he had helped found and a president he had helped elect.

President Yameen after assuming power sided with gangs and repeatedly violated the constitution, he claimed.

Alleging corruption in the government, Mahloof said Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb bought a US$80,000 BMW and$100,000 ring for the first lady on her birthday, indicating President Abdulla Yameen encouraged embezzlement of state funds.

Reiterating his allegations of the government using gangs for “state-sponsored” crimes, Mahloof said he has “never felt this kind of fear.”

“Why? Because I know the atrocities this government has committed. This government is capable of such atrocities. I am now uncertain of my security,” he said.

In his first speech at a political rally, Adam Azim – former Defence Minister Nazim’s brother and former managing director of the State Trading Organisation (STO) – said he was not at the rally solely because his brother was under arrest.

“I’m here because I do not want my children or their children to live in this fear,” he said.

Azim praised former President Nasheed for his courage, determination, and lead role in ushering in democracy.

Expressing gratitude to the opposition leader for standing up in defence of Nazim – who had played a pivotal role in Nasheed’s resignation in February 2012 – Azim said Nasheed’s heart was “big enough” to contain the whole country.

As justice was not possible through Maldivian courts, Azim said the “only avenue left for justice is the streets.”

He said Nazim wishes to serve the public as Nasheed does and did not fear jail, calling on police and the military not to obey unlawful orders.

Azim also expressed concern with the dismissal of employees of state-owned enterprises for attending opposition protests and rallies, noting that their politically-appointed superiors were at the front lines of ruling party gatherings.

MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed meanwhile said President Yameen has betrayed and alienated his closest associates and allies, including former Defence Minister Nazim, who he said was the hardest working and most competent cabinet minister, and PPM MP Ahmed Nazim.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal by the Prosecutor General’s Office into dismissal of20821_943152929052704_508879499432636623_n corruption cases against the Dhiggaru MP.

Parties on opposite ends of the political spectrum were setting aside ideological differences against President Yameen’s alleged attempts to destroy the multi-party system, he said, which has renewed hope and courage for the opposition.

The MDP’s top priority and the goal of the opposition movement was freeing Nasheed, he declared.

“We want to see the day Nasheed arrives at Republican Square a free man,” he said.

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