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Maldives: President Nasheed orders police investigation of more political opponents

Male', Maldives
Maldives President Nasheed ordered his police today to investigate another three of his political opponents, alleging that they were spreading lies about him and his government.

In a directive to the Maldives Police today, Nasheed ordered the investigation of Deputy Leader of Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, ex-Sandhaanu writer Ahmed Didi (Ahammaidi) and the popular private TV network of Champa Ahmed Moosa (Soatu Champa), the DhiTV. Nasheed alleged that all three parties were spreading unsubstantiated lies that his Government was run under the influence of Christian priests.

Nasheed's intimidatory attack on Dr. Jameel and DhiTV comes hard on the heels of his intimidatory actions against Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim, PPM Interim Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and Adhaalath Party leader Shaikh Mohamed Shaheem Saeed.

Gasim's three tourist resorts and aviation business Villa Air were closed by Nasheed two weeks ago, alleging illegal business practices. Villa Air was re-opened under court order which found Nasheed's actions illegal.

Gayoom's son Ghassaan Maumoon was arrested by police for "investigations" following an attack on Gayoom's residence by Nasheed's militant party Maldives Democratic Party led by MDP MPs Mariya Didi, Interim Chairperson Reeko Moosa Maniku and Nasheed's cousin MP Eva Abdulla. Ghassaan Maumoon was released only after a court order which found the police actions illegal.

Shaikh Shaheem, the charismatic spokesperson of Adhaalath Party and ex-State Minister for Religious Affairs in the Nasheed administration, was victimized by police under the guise of investigations of alleged 'sexual misconduct". Shaikh Shaheem, a popular public speaker who is a possible front runner for any Adhaalath bid for the presidency, has also been subjected to harassment by Nasheed's media propaganda MNBC which aired videos of the Shaikh and a woman holding hands.

Dr. Jameel, who served in Nasheed's first cabinet as Transport Minister, is a vocal critic of the Nasheed administration in various public fora. As spokesperson for DQP, Jameel frequently represents the DQP on political programs on private TV networks, DhiTV and VTV.

DhiTV, probably the most widely viewed TV network in the country, has been subjected to several intimidatory actions by Nasheed and his police on various occasions. Police have entered the DhiTV network offices on more than one occasion and ordered the termination of its broadcasts, in the name of protecting "national security".

In mid December 2011, Maldives Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh and Chief of Staff of the Defence forces Lt. Gen. Moosa Jaleel together held a press conference in which they threatened that any media which carried reports that could be interpreted as against national security would be closed down. This threat was repeated in a letter by the military to all media networks and newspapers. The most vocal critics of these military actions, as illegal and in contradiction to the constitution, were Dr. Jameel's party, DQP.

It is evident from these series of actions that the Nasheed regime's approach to the Presidential Elections in 2013 is to intimidate and harass political opponents using the state machinery of police, military and media.

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