Opposition lawmakers summoned to police

Opposition lawmakers summoned to police
October 05 17:29 2017

Three opposition lawmakers were Thursday summoned to police headquarters as investigations continue into the alleged obstruction and assault of security officers inside the parliament chamber earlier this year.

Ali Azim and Mohamed Nazim of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, and independent MP Hussain Areef signed statements after being interrogated at the Shaheed Hussain Adam building.

“They accuse me of obstructing the duties of MNDF (Maldives National Defence Force) security inside the Majlis chamber on July 31. But what duties do they have inside the chamber? The chamber belongs to the elected representatives of the people. The MNDF have no duties there,” Azim told the Maldives Independent.

The lawmaker, who is also the deputy leader of the MDP parliamentary group, refused to seek legal assistance, saying “these are political investigations for political people”.

“I requested them to issue my passport, but they said it might affect the ongoing investigation so I assured them that I have no intention to flee the country,” Azim said referring to the revocation of his passport.

Nazim was also summoned for questioning on accusations of obstruction and assault of MNDF security officers inside the chamber, but the lawmaker representing the Vaikaradhoo constituency was not available for comment.

Areef had his passport revoked on Monday. A court warrant cited police intelligence reports that indicated he might attempt to leave the country.  

He tweeted the court warrant and challenged authorities to revoke his passport and all his identification documents as “it could help minimise their blatant lies”.

The passport of MP Ahmed Mahloof, who is currently in Sri Lanka for medical care, was also revoked earlier this week.

“When MNDF officers refused to give statements about the alleged obstruction and assault, General Shiyam [Chief of Defence Forces] was forced to sign the statements through the military police,” Mahloof was quoted by news website Mihaaru, as he accused authorities of continuing to threaten lawmakers.

MP Abdulla Riyaz of the Jumhooree Party was also summoned by police for questioning this week in connection with a separate investigation.

The former police commissioner is under investigation for allegedly spreading false information about the police and creating discord.

Twelve opposition lawmakers – including Riyaz and Areef – are currently on trial for allegedly scaling the security barricades to enter the Majlis building in July. They are charged with criminal trespassing and obstructing police officers.