Malé city councillor arrested on blackmailing charge

Malé city councillor arrested on blackmailing charge
January 14 16:56 2017

Zaidul Ameen, a Malé city councillor from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, is under arrest on a blackmailing charge.

The criminal court reportedly remanded Ameen to police custody for 15 days shortly after his arrest on Friday afternoon.

According to local media, Ameen is accused of blackmailing “senior figures”. The police declined to comment on the charges.

Ameen is a staunch loyalist of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In July last year, he was expelled from the PPM after the ruling party was divided into rival factions led by Gayoom and President Abdulla Yameen.

Along with Gayoom loyalist Aminath Nadira, Ameen was accused of defaming Yameen amid the leadership dispute between the Gayoom brothers.

The civil court has since stripped Gayoom of his powers as the PPM’s elected leader and handed over control to Yameen. The 79-year-old former ruler withdrew support for his half-brother’s administration last month.

Ameen’s arrest comes a day after Gayoom was questioned by the police over missing hard drives thought to contain the PPM’s membership registry.

Gayoom’s daughter, Yumna Maumoon, was also summoned to the police on Wednesday over the ongoing investigation. The Gayoom faction’s deputy leader, Aminath Nadira, was questioned in November.

Yameen’s supporters had ransacked the PPM’s old office and removed all of its computers, documents and furniture.

The police also previously searched Gayoom’s office and raided the home of Abdul Aleem, the Gayoom faction’s secretary-general, over the missing drive.