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HRCM to probe forced head shaving allegations

Lawyers learned of the forced head shaving when the eight former Special Ops officers were summoned for a remand hearing.



The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives is probing claims that former police officers had their heads forcibly shaved.

The eight men, who used to be part of Special Operations, were arrested during a 45-day state of emergency and fired on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government.

They are also accused of trying to cause the loss of public confidence in security forces by assaulting police officers at an unlawful protest.

Mahfooz Saeed, a lawyer for the eight, told local media that forced head shaving was prohibited by anti-torture law. It is unclear if the men were forced to shave their heads themselves or if others did it against the ex-officers’ wishes.

He said the HRCM has been asked to look into the matter. An HRCM official confirmed the case was submitted on Tuesday.

Lawyers learned about the forced head shaving when the eight were summoned for a remand hearing.

The lawyers issued a statement condemning the act which “violates the anti-torture act and the penal code.” They said all those involved in the act had committed an offence.

Former police commissioner Ahmed Areef, also accused of plotting to overthrow the government, remains under arrest until the end of his trial. The eight were remanded for nine days.

They are currently being held at the high-security Maafushi prison under the supervision of the Maldives Correctional Service.

According to the opposition, more than 50 officers from the police and armed forces were detained following the Supreme Court order to release nine political prisoners.

Separately on Wednesday, former SO commander Abdulla Ibrahim was fired after deliberations from the police disciplinary board.

Ibrahim was appointed as SO commander of the team drawn up by Areef to implement the February 1 Supreme Court order.

Photo: Mihaaru