Yesterday evening, police transferred all the women taken into custody at the Anbaraa music festival to house arrest.
Nineteen women were amongst the 79 people arrested on suspicion of being under the influence, and in possession of, illegal drugs on Friday (April 18).
An official from the Home Ministry told online newspaper CNM that the women were transferred to house arrest due to a lack of space in detention centres and difficulties in catering for them.
He told the paper that they were all transferred under the authority held by the home minister. He further noted that the court warrant to extend their detention period stated that they should be detained in a place determined by the Home Ministry.
Meanwhile former President and acting president of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed told press yesterday that, while the police told the court everyone arrested had tested positive to illegal drugs, he had information that they had not all been tested when they were summoned to the Criminal Court to have their detention extended on Saturday (April 19) .
Nasheed said that the only situation where police should raid any place in the manner they did, is when their lives were at risk or if the police believed they might be attacked when trying to arrest a person.
The opposition leader said that he did not understand the reason why police had to raid an island firing rubber bullets and shouting when its inhabitants were a group of young people entertaining themselves.
Nasheed also alleged that, after raiding the island, police officers handcuffed all the young people and went fishing.
He repeated the allegations he previously made against Tourism Minister and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Deputy Leader Ahmed Adheeb and said that he was one of the event organisers.
Nasheed suggested a cross-cabinet plan in which it is one minister’s duty was to gather all the young people to one place while the other minister’s duty could be arresting all of them at once.
The Maldives Police Service yesterday denied allegations by the opposition MDP that constitutional rights and procedures were violated in the arrest made in Anbaraa.
The MDP’s rights committee has contended that procedures specified in the constitution for arrest or detention – such as informing suspects of the reasons in writing within 24 hours, providing access to legal counsel, and presenting suspects before a judge within 24 hours for a remand hearing – were breached by the police.
Moreover, the committee alleged that police did not act in accordance with regulations governing the exercise of law enforcement powers concerning arrest and detention.
Last weekend police searched 198 persons and arrested 79, including one minor, during a music festival on Anbaraa island in Vaavu atoll.
Home Minister Umar Naseer the following day in a tweet said that law will be enforced without any exemptions, writing that “anybody can party but no drugs on the menu.’’