Condemnation of government attempts to intimidate, harass, and tarnish reputations of MUO Shadow Cabinet Ministers

The Maldives United Opposition (MUO) strongly condemns and urges the Maldives government to cease serial and continued attempts to intimidate, harass, and tarnish the reputations of senior members of the opposition.

Police summonses issued on 27 July 2016 requisitions three Shadow Ministers of the MUO (Shadow Home Minister Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Shadow Minister of Health, Social Protection and Gender Sidhaatha Shareef and Shadow Minister of Civil Rights Hassan Latheef) to present themselves at Police Headquarters in Male’ by 2000Hrs on 28 July 2016. The arbitrary nature of the summons was made evident by the fact that the Police chit only stated the purpose as to interrogate and take statement in connection to a case Police were investigating, without stating any specific charges.

The summons is seen as part of a continuing pattern to unlawfully implicate harass, intimidate and incriminate senior members of the Maldives United Opposition (MUO). Recent actions make apparent that the government would move through all avenues available to them to disrupt the Maldives United Opposition; by tarnishing the reputations of members through spurious investigations; and by abusing the criminal justice system to unlawfully incriminate political opponents.

It is of high concern for the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) that Police are being directed to infiltrate and harass known political figures even from inside mosques. It is of high concern for the MUO that prominent Sheikh Hussain Rasheed Ahmed, along with two journalists and an activist were temporarily arrested by Police in mufti from inside the Islamic Centre in Male’, on 26 July 2016, deliberately disregarding the sanctity of the mosque. Later witness reports said there were armed security personnel operating inside the Islamic Centre.

It is also a matter of serious alarm that a number of Policemen in mufti have recently infiltrated MUO rallies, attempting to incite grassroots supporters of the coalition. Intimidation and harassment of participants of peaceful political gatherings have been a well-known and condemned practice of the previous Gayoom-regime as well.

Commenting on the recent Police summons, MUO Shadow Minister of Home Affairs said. “One of the primary aims of an MUO interim administration is to facilitate an environment conducive for the Police to operate with dignity, in a de-politicized institution. I urge the Maldives Police Services and its senior officers to avoid being embroiled in unlawful political designs of an increasingly despotic regime”.

The Maldives United Opposition assures all well-wishers that we shall not step back even for a moment in striving to remove the dictator in Maldives from power, through all legal and lawful means, and pave the way for a transitional administration as soon as possible. We shall keep moving forward to restore democracy, protect the many people being persecuted and make forthcoming public elections in Maldives free, fair, transparent and inclusive.