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500 complaints lodged over unlawful arrests

The president’s office invited complaints concerning politically motivated arrests.



A lawyer submitted Monday complaints on behalf of about 500 people who were arrested for alleged political reasons during the past seven years.

The president’s office invited complaints last Thursday from “those who have been detained, or criminally charged, or sentenced, to gain political motives, since 1 February 2012” with a deadline of January 6.

Nazim Sattar, a criminal defence lawyer, told the press that the complaints include the cases of about 100 people arrested during February’s state of emergency, 212 people arrested during the 2015 May Day protest, and 94 people arrested from Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo over alleged arson in the wake of the contested transfer of power in February 2012.

Other cases include opposition activists arrested during a weekly gathering after Friday prayers at the Islamic centre in Malé.

In most of the 500 unlawful arrests, the detainees were released without charge and did not face trial, Nazim noted.

The release of political prisoners was a campaign pledge of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The new administration has also invited complaints from staff at government offices and state-owned companies who were sacked for political reasons, such as for participating in anti-government demonstrations.