Third suspect in Jailam murder remanded

The Criminal Court has extended the remand detention of a third suspect in the murder of 24-year-old Jailam Ahmed Shakir, reports local media.

The 20-year-old suspect was reportedly arrested on Tuesday (March 10) whilst two other suspects, aged 19 and 24, were taken into policy custody with arrest warrants on March 3.

The Criminal Court extended the remand detention of the latter to 15 days.

Meanwhile, Sun Online has claimed a fourth suspect in the murder, 18-year-old Mohamed Humaid has fled the Maldives and is currently in Sri Lanka.

Jailam was stabbed to death on the night of February 21 in the Henveiru ward of the capital Malé.

Eyewitnesses told Minivan News that Jailam was stabbed numerous times by two men armed with machetes while he was sitting outside his house.


Three suspects in 24kg drug bust released

Three suspects arrested in a 24kg drug bust in February have been released after the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the three Maldivian men, reports local media.

After taking 18 men into custody, police forwarded five cases for prosecution. However, the PG’s Office have decided to prosecute only two suspects – both Maldivians – identified as Abdulla Sofwath, from Henveiru Everpeace, and Ismail Moosa, from Galolhu Trustwood.

The Criminal Court has ordered that the pair be kept in remand detention pending the outcome of their trial.

Local media has meanwhile reported that the three locals released last week included a police officer arrested in connection with the drug bust as well as the captain of a dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) that collected the heroin from an Iranian vessel.

Four Maldivians, three Bangladeshis, and 11 Pakistanis were taken into custody on March 10 with 24kg of heroin, which police said was “the largest amount of drugs seized in a police operation conducted in the Maldives so far.”


Police Commissioner urges all officers to be patient with inmates

Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed has called on police officers to treat inmates held in Dhoonidhoo in accordance with the law, warning that he will not hesitate to take action against those doing otherwise.

The commissioner noted that inmates in Dhoonidhoo detention centre face the curtailment of some of the basic rights – such as freedom of movement – and that police officers should maintain patience when faced with unsettled detainees.

Waheed also stated that police officers were now being trained to serve inmates in accordance with local and international human rights laws, urging officers to put this training into practice.

He added that he would not accept any police officer committing a crime, noting that sometimes officers have been involved in criminal activities which give a bad name to the whole institution.

On March 16, 2014, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) – in their 2013 annual report – stated that incidents of torture in detention centres were increasing in the Maldives.

Among the issues noted during the commission’s visits, and from complaints received, were detainees being held in cuffs for extended periods, detainees not being provided adequate hygiene and sleeping materials, overcrowded cells, rotten food, and the mistreatment of detainees during transfer.

The report also listed a failure to keep proper records of detainees’ medical, search, and solitary confinement details, as well as a failure to inform the HRCM of arrests.

According to the commission’s report, of a total of 596 recommendations regarding state detention facilities made – including prisons, detention centres, and homes for people with special needs – only 20 percent have been fully implemented.

The rising incidence of torture was reflected in the number of cases submitted, and a total of 72 cases of degrading treatment and torture were submitted within the year.

In December 2013, the parliament passed the Anti-torture Act [Dhivehi] which declares freedom from torture as a fundamental right, ensures respect for human rights of criminal suspects, and prohibits torture in state custody, detention in undisclosed locations, and solitary confinement.

According to the bill, any confession gained through the use of torture should be deemed invalid by the courts.

On June 2, 2013, the man found to have murdered parliament member and prominent religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali, Hussain Humam, retracted his confession to the crime, claiming it had been obtained by police through coercive during his detention.

Last month, Ahmed Murrath – sentenced to death for murder –  was also reported to have appealed his case at the High Court telling  judges that he had been refused access to a doctor during pretrial detention.


Two men charged with attack on Raajje TV reporter

Police have pressed charges against two suspects allegedly involved in the attack on Raajje TV Reporter Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed.

Ahmed Vishaan, 22, of Kerin Light in Male’s Maafanu neighborhood and Hassan Raihaan, 19, of Fehimaa in Male’s Galolhu neighborhood have been “accused of assault in a manner that can cause serious injuries,” Criminal Court Media Official Mohamed Manik told local media yesterday (May 22).

Vishaan was  been accused of hitting Aswad with a three foot iron rod in the face and head, while the journalist was on his motorcycle the night February 23, 2013 at around 1:18 am, said Manik.

Raihaan has been accused of “helping Vishaan flee the scene” via motorcycle after the attack on Aswad, he added.

Aswad, a senior reporter for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-aligned television station, was attacked with an iron bar while riding on a motorcycle near the  artificial beach area.

He was attacked while he was on his way to see two Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists, who were admitted to hospital after being attacked during opposition-led protests.

Following the attack, Aswad was airlifted to Sri Lanka for emergency surgery. He later recovered and returned to the Maldives, telling local media he was very happy to return to the Maldives and would remain undeterred in his role as a journalist.

The attack on Aswad is one of the most serious assaults on a Maldivian journalist since blogger Hilath Rasheed had his throat slashed in an alleyway in mid-2012.

Rasheed was initially given a five percent chance of survival, but later recovered. He has since fled the country.

Press freedom

The Maldives plummeted to 103rd in the most recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index, a fall of 30 places and a return to pre-2008 levels.

“The events that led to the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed in February led to violence and threats against journalists in state television and private media outlets regarded as pro-Nasheed by the coup leaders,” RSF observed, in its annual ranking of 179 countries.

“Attacks on press freedom have increased since then. Many journalists have been arrested, assaulted and threatened during anti-government protests. On June 5, the freelance journalist and blogger Ismail “Hilath” Rasheed narrowly survived the first attempted murder of a journalist in the archipelago,” RSF noted in its report.