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Ihavandhoo council president detained

All five opposition island councillors were suspended in May.



The president of Haa Alif Ihavandhoo island council was detained Thursday after police seized the mobile phones of four councillors.

The mobile phones of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party councillors were seized in connection with an ongoing investigation and Mohamed Rasheed was arrested with a court warrant, police said.

Rasheed’s home has also been searched with a warrant.

Police officers reportedly declined to seize the phone of councillor Mohamed Mafaz as he does not use a smart phone.

In May, the five MDP councillors were suspended without pay for three months for allegedly obstructing housing ministry staff.

The Local Government Authority’s disciplinary action came less than a month after the councillors returned from a three-month suspension imposed in January.

The LGA has warned that it would seek a High Court order to dissolve the council if a third suspension is warranted.

Dozens of opposition councillors have been suspended in recent months with 25 suspended in March for calling on authorities to implement a Supreme Court order to release political prisoners.

The MDP condemned the suspensions as the actions of “a politically weak, law-breaking, dictatorial government without public support.”

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