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May Day protester released after three years in prison



The clemency board released Sunday a young man who was serving a five-year prison sentence over the assault of a policeman during a mass protest on May Day 2015.

Ibrahim Laban Shareef’s family has confirmed his release on parole to the press.

Laban was accused of tackling Sergeant Abdul Rahman Hussain to the ground, after which other protesters kicked and hit the fallen officer over the head with his helmet and baton.

He was among six protesters who were found guilty in July 2015 of aiding and abetting assault using a dangerous weapon.

One of his co-defendants, Nasira Ali, was granted a conditional release in April last year. She was accused of hitting the police officer with an empty plastic coke bottle.

Laban was the goalkeeper of football club Eagles. He was arrested three days after the mass rally when he arrived for practice at the Maafanu sports grounds in Malé.

The 25,000-strong rally was the largest anti-government demonstration in Maldivian history. Nearly 200 protesters were detained.

The police were accused of beating protesters during and after their arrest. Lawyers and the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party alleged that the police tortured and threatened to kill suspects arrested in connection with assaulting the Specialist Operations officer.

After complaints were lodged, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives launched investigations into three cases of apparent brutality and custodial abuse.

But a single police officer has yet to be convicted of brutality.

In September 2015, the criminal court acquitted a police officer charged with assaulting a protester during a crackdown on a protest march in February 2012, despite video evidence of the incident.

Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla was controversially found guilty of terrorism in February 2016 over a speech he gave at the May Day rally and sentenced to 12 years in prison.