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Prosecutor General declines to raise charges over custodial death

The evidence was deemed insufficient to prove criminal intent.



The Prosecutor General’s office refused to press criminal charges against Maldives Correctional Services officers over the death of a prisoner two years ago. 

Abdulla Rasheed died while undergoing treatment at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in the capital on October 10, 2017. The 51-year-old’s family alleged he was denied medical treatment before he was brought to Malé from the Maafushi prison 

After investigating allegations of negligence by prison officials, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives decided to seek criminal charges last year.

“The Prosecutor General’s office has informed the commission that criminal charges cannot be pursued in this case because it is not possible to prove criminal intent based on available evidence,” the HRCM said in a statement on Wednesday.

But the watchdog maintained its stance that Rasheed’s health had deteriorated due to neglect by two doctors at the Maafushi prion’s medical centre. 

One of the two doctors was not registered at the health ministry and lacked a licence to practice medicine, the commission noted.

The prisoner was treated three times before his death. 

Rasheed had been serving a a five-year sentence on assault charges raised over the beating of a policeman during the 2015 May Day protest.

He died from hypovolemic shock due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding, according to his death certificate.

He had been ill with severe diarrhoea and vomiting three days prior to his death, sources said. The family had learned of his illness and gone to Malé prison to request medical treatment for him.

He was brought to IGMHand was kept in the emergency room. The family had been asking for him to be moved to the Intensive Care Unit when he passed away, sources said.

But the Maldives Correctional Service claimed he had been reported ill and hospitalised on the same day.

It was the seventh custodial death in two years.