Opposition accused of planning and inciting violence

Opposition accused of planning and inciting violence
March 09 17:33 2018

The Maldives opposition has been accused of planning to overthrow the government by creating unrest and instability in the capital.

Police said Thursday night investigations were under way after they had learned of plans to topple President Abdulla Yameen’s administration from the streets with arson attacks, bribery, petty crime and vandalism.

Spokesman Ahmed Shifan told media that four arrests had been made and that more may follow in the coming days.

The President’s Office said police would be carrying out “special operations to prevent unlawful actions” that had been planned for the weekend.

Earlier Thursday three members of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party were arrested. One of the detainees, Ahmed Shahid, husband of MDP MP Eva Abdulla, was later brought to Malé while Special Ops police searched his apartment.

Later in the day, activist Ilham Hussain and businessman Abdul Majid were arrested from inside restaurants. Four people including a Malé city councillor were reportedly arrested during the nightly street protest.

The MDP said Thursday’s arrests were made under the “unlawful” state of emergency, which deprives detainees of several due process rights such as being informed of charges and taken before a judge in 24 hours.

More than 40 people have been detained under emergency powers, including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two Supreme Court justices, two ex-police chiefs and several lawmakers.

“A number of soldiers are being held incommunicado in their barracks; while several Special Operations police have been arrested over the past two weeks,” MDP said.

Daily demonstrations have been taking place since President Abdulla Yameen invoked emergency powers last month, suspending constitutional rights and granting sweeping powers to police. He cited the need to uncover a plot to remove him from office after the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine prisoners.

The ensuing crackdown on the opposition, judiciary and the media has been widely condemned.

A joint statement from 41 countries at the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council said it was “regrettable” that the Maldives had chosen not to engage with the UN, instead further restricting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The statement, issued Thursday, said it was of “grave concern” that in recent weeks the human rights situation had deteriorated significantly.