May Day protest detainee dies in custody

May Day protest detainee dies in custody
October 10 14:59 2017

An inmate at Maafushi high-security prison died Tuesday while being treated at Malé’s Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

Sources told the Maldives Independent that Abdulla Rasheed, who was serving a five-year sentence on assault charges, had been ill with severe diarrhoea and vomiting for the past three days.

But a Maldives Correctional Service spokesperson told the Maldives Independent he had been reported ill Monday and been hospitalised that same day in the capital.

Abdulla Rasheed was arrested at a May Day rally in 2015, when 25,000 people turned out on the streets demanding the release of former president Mohamed Nasheed. It was the country’s largest-ever protest.

The 51-year-old died from hypovolemic shock due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding, according to his death certificate.

A source said the family had learned of his illness and gone to Malé prison to request medical treatment for him.

He was brought to IGMH Monday afternoon and was kept in the emergency room. The family had been asking for him to be moved to the Intensive Care Unit when he passed away, sources said.

His is the seventh custodial death in two years.

In August, Ibrahim Asgar, 31, another inmate at Maafushi, died of unknown causes while being treated at the island’s medical centre.

Mohamed Badeeu, 52, a diabetes patient also at Maafushi died in late July, while Ahmed Hassan, 55, was found dead by prison guards at the low-security Asseyri jail on the island of Himmafushi last December.

28-year-old Hussain Zareer, who was awaiting trial died at IGMH nearly 24 hours after he was brought to the capital for medical care in November. Last September, Adam Ali, 57, died while being held in pre-trial detention at a remand centre in Malé.

In late August, a 55-year-old man died en route to the hospital in Malé from the police remand facility on the island of Dhoonidhoo, 10 minutes by speedboat from the capital.

When questioned about the increasing number of custodial deaths, the MCS spokesperson said “everyone dies. It must not be presumed that it is due to negligence on the part of MCS”.