Civil Court conducts second hearing of MDP’s case against clearing of protest sites

The Civil Court has conducted a second hearing of the case presented to the court by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) against security forces, after the police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) dismantled MDP’s protest camp near the tsunami monument.

The MDP’s official website reported that the state attorney had denied the allegations made by MDP and contended that a court warrant is not required to dismantle the area.

MDP lawyer Hisan Hassan told the judge that the police could only search the area with the presence of MDP senior persons and that the MDP wanted to clarify why the area was destroyed.

Hisan also told the judge that the police did not even have a list of items they confiscated from the area.

According to local media, state attorney Ahmed Usham told the court that the area was dismantled because the protesters threw bricks at the security forces, and that the dismantling of the protest was not an action that was taken to narrow freedom of speech.

Usham also said that alcohol and items “used to conduct sexual activities” were discovered in the area, and that those were items disallowed under Islamic Sharia.

The state attorney claimed knives and sharpened iron bars and other materials were also found.

He futther alleged that MDP protesters had been attacking police officers that have went there to investigate violence that occurs in the area.

Usham claimed that people gathered in the area had been using filthy words to speak and had been encouraging violence.

He also alleged the education of children living in the area had been affected and that their rights had been violated.

The local media reported that Usham had told the judge that many crimes have been conducted in Male’ after the area was used for “planning and organising crime”, and that criminals had used the area “to flee from police”.

MDP reported that the next hearing of the case is scheduled for Sunday.

The tsunami monument area was dubbed ‘Justice Square’ by the MDP following the outside of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, in what he claimed was a police and military led coup de’tat. Thousands of by MDP supporters had used the area as a camping site during the ongoing protest against the legitimacy of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s new government.

Following a day of protests on Monday, police and army in a sudden raid on the camp ordered everyone in the area to leave without giving reason, and arrested some of the people who refused.

The police then dismantled the tents, removed all the lights, speakers, megaphones, banners, flags and the stage in the area built by the MDP, and cleared political slogans and graffiti from the sea wall.