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Maldives Judiciary prevents President Nasheed from arbitrarily arresting Opposition Leader Yaameen

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed tried unsuccessfully on June 7th to arbitrarily arrest Opposition Leader Abdulla Yaameen. Nasheed’s political appointee Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh was ordered by President Nasheed to carry out the arrest. However, the Judiciary refused to issue Commissioner Faseeh with a warrant, citing that the police had insufficient evidence to justify the warrant. Abdulla Yaameen is the Leader of opposition party People’s Alliance and MP for Meemu Mulah Constituency.

The only justification shown by Commissioner Faseeh to arrest Yaameen was printouts of hate articles from internet site Dhivehi Observer, a site solely focused on inciting hatred for former president Gayoom and opposition leaders. Sources report that the court judge threw this so-called evidence out of court as utter rubbish. Dhivehi Observer is owned and operated by President Nasheed’s Minister of State for Technology Ahmed Shafeeq (aka Kuda Sappey). Its lead contributing writers include President Nasheed’s younger brother Nazim, his younger sister Nasheeda and his cousin Nuzu (daughter of Bodu Sikka, the convicted terrorist and traitor of November 3rd).

What is evident now is that President Nasheed is using his family and cronies to manufacture false reports filled with allegations against opposition leaders; reports that he then sends to the Maldives Police Service with orders to investigate. The process was first begun with reports manufactured by his crony Auditor General Maakun Ibrahim Naeem. It has now gone to the extent that police is ordered to investigate the known hate website, Dhivehi Observer. In the days to come it is likely that this hate website will churn out more false reports of President Nasheed’s future persecution targets.

Sources report that police approached the same judge who issued a search warrant for the corporate offices of MP Ahmed Nazim’s former company, Namira. Although the judge rejected the police appeal, the police is reported to be working to try and apprehend Yaameen. Superintendent Ahmed Areef was abruptly appointed on Saturday to lead the police investigation team. Ahmed Areef is the husband of MDP Chairman Mariya Did’s sister Rugiyya. Rugiyya is President Nasheed’s secretary, with the designation of Deputy Undersecretary, Executive Services branch of The President’s Office.

The police are also reportedly pursing the arrest of 16 persons so far unnamed. Sources report that although the courts had rejected the first appeal by the police to issue arrest warrants for these hunted sixteen, police will be appealing to the courts again this week.

This latest attempt by President Nasheed to hunt down his political opponents comes at a time that he has been soundly beaten repeatedly in the political arena. Beginning with his massive defeat at the parliamentary polls on May 9th, Nasheed has been defeated both in parliament and outside by his political opponents.

During his MDP parliamentary campaign, President Nasheed in fact threatened that he would persecute the opposition if he was defeated at the polls. Speaking in his capacity as President at a public meeting at Alifushi on April 19th, Nasheed threatened that, “When a member of my party pesters me for something, I will grant that member’s request. But, if a member of another party pesters me, my evilness will be clearly seen. I can also do many things with my left hand and right hand. Never think, and none of you can even imagine, the things I would do or would not do.”

Immediately after his defeat, President Nasheed’s publicly promised his party that he would make high profile arrests in the upcoming days. “Not one of you, doubt me on this. Take what I say now seriously, not as a joke. I will arrest people. … And I will do this too in a systemic manner. I will take this action at the appropriate time. I will do as you are demanding that I do. And when I set out to arrest people, no one can stop me”, Nasheed vowed to his ecstatic followers at an MDP rally on May 20th. The rally was held immediately after a series of failed demonstrations by MDP hooligans in front of Opposition Leader Gayoom’s residence. These demonstrations were lead by Nasheed’s State Minister for Transport Aslam Shakir.

Speaking at the same rally, Nasheed told his screaming followers, “I have not even one iota of doubt about the powers I have [as president], about my political powers and about how these powers can be used and about how I intend to use these powers”.

These vows and actions are part and parcel of a large scale hate and persecution campaign mounted by Nasheed in the post election days. At the national level, Nasheed’s intimidation of independent MPs, opposition leaders, young dissidents, and civil servants was escalated with a vengeance. Nasheed’s attempt on May 27th to arrest Opposition Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was prevented by neighboring countries and international media interest.

In May, immediately after his party was heavily beaten in the parliamentary elections, Nasheed created his Witch Hunt Commission. The Commission is solely comprised of his closest henchmen who had been leading the attacks on Nasheed’s political opponents. It is led by his crony Ali Shiyam, son of key MDP financier Abdulla Ali. Abdulla Ali originally gained his riches by swindling his employer Abdul Hakeem. The homosexual leader of the religious fundamentalist party Adhaalath Party Hussein Rasheed is also a member of the Witch Hunt Commission. Hussain Rasheed has been vociferous in hate attacks against former president and opposition leader Gayoom. The rest of the Commission membership consists of MDP radicals publicly known for their virulent hate attacks on opposition leaders. Ali Shiyam’s younger brother, MP for Faafu Biledhdhoo constituency Ahmed Hamza is known to be the architect directing the police investigative team assigned to the Witch Hunt Commission.

Nasheed’s Witch Hunt Commission has been criticized by leading legal experts as being unconstitutional and having excessive powers outside the bounds of law. In this respect, legal experts slammed Nasheed for infringing on the constitutional mandates of the Anti Corruption Commission and the Prosecutor General and the mandates of the Maldives Police Service under law.

In late May, President Nasheed also attempted to arrest Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim. However, this arbitrary arrest too was foiled by the Judiciary. The Judiciary then too rejected Commissioner Faseeh’s repeated attempts to obtain court warrants for the Deputy Speaker’s arrest on the basis of insufficient evidence. Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim is Deputy Leader of People’s Alliance and MP for Meemu Dhiggaru Constituency. He has also served two previous consecutive terms as MP for Meemu Atoll. However, Police Commissioner Faseeh did illegally arrest Ahmed Nazim’s wife, entering into their private home and apprehending her without a court warrant. She was released after 24 hours when the Judiciary refused to issue a warrant for her detention by police.

The very next week, President Nasheed also attempted to arrest MP for Baa Eydhafushi Ahmed Saleem. In this case too, the Judiciary prevented Police Commissioner Faseeh from excessive use of police powers. It later granted a warrant for the Department of Immigration to confiscate MP Saleem’s passport. MP Ahmed Saleem is the Leader of opposition party, Party to Alleviate Poverty.

Police did not let up on their persecution of MPs Ahmed Nazim and Ahmed Saleem. On June 6th, both MPs were taken to police for questioning. MP Saleem later stated to media that he made every attempt to cooperate with police. However, the police investigative team made too many personal attacks on his reputation that he had to end the interview.

Within the last month, police have thrice brutally attacked peaceful gatherings and arrested several opposition activists. Two independent MPs have been threatened with trumped up fraud cases, while young dissidents and their families are harassed. Protected by the regime, members of President Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) commit acts of arson and vandalism against those suspected of not voting for MDP’s parliamentary candidates. Muggings of opposition party members are reported from constituencies where MDP suffered huge defeats. Two young DRP activists were knifed in Male’ last month. Opposition leader Gayoom was threatened with death by lynching by MDP mouthpiece Reeko Moosa on public TV.

In this climate of terror created by his disintegrating regime, President Nasheed has overturned all democratic institutions and gathered all powers into his own hands. He has used the police force to intimidate and harrass dissenters. His indefensible persecution of opposition leaders are clear signs that he himself knows that his days as president are numbered. It remains to be seen how long the Maldives Judiciary will stand firm and protect civilian rights from persecution by President Nasheed.

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