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Demotion of policemen accused of beating suspect under review

The police brutality was caught on video.



Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed has asked an internal committee to review the demotion of policemen accused of  beating up an unarmed suspect in July.

Seven policemen from the Drug Enforcement Department were suspended after the incident was caught in an amateur video that showed four people beating up a foreigner inside a residence in the capital Malé.   

But the policemen were not arrested despite a public outcry. In late July, the DED officers were relieved of duty and placed under investigation by the Professional Standards Command. Based on the inquiry, the Disciplinary Committee decided last Wednesday to demote the seven policemen, remove badges of discipline and to shuffle them to different departments. 

The case is now at the Appeals Committee after the police chief requested a reexamination, a police media official said on Monday. The case will be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office after the medical report of the 36-year-old victim is received, the media official said.

Last week, investigators started consulting with prosecutors ahead of filing charges at court.

The investigation into the assault will also look into alleged attempts to tamper with and destroy evidence, police said. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the National Integrity Commission have launched separate probes.

The leaked video showed four men punch and kick the victim who falls down only to be picked up and held against a wall so the beating can continue. One of the men is seen using a brick to commit the assault.

DED officers confiscated 461 grammes of illicit narcotics and arrested the Bangladeshi man from the house along with a 28-year-old Maldivian man who tried to flee from the scene.

In the wake of the suspensions, social media users raised concerns about several policemen who had changed their Facebook profile pictures black. Some profiles had the words “with DED,” in an apparent show of solidarity with the suspended policemen.