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Man arrested over photo of boat blast suspect

Ismail Shakir, an employee of the state-owned Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL), was arrested for taking a photograph of Maldivian police officers taking a suspect in a ‘bomb plot’ into custody from the airport tarmac on Friday.



An airports company staff has been detained after he published a photo of police officers arresting a suspect in the alleged plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.

Ismail Shakir, an employee of the state-owned Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL), photographed police officers taking into custody an influential businessman, Hamid Ismail, from the airport tarmac on Friday.

Hamid, who is also a relative of detained Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, was arrested in Kuala Lumpur last week and deported to the Maldives on Friday.

A senior staff at the MACL told The Maldives Independent on the condition of anonymity that Shakir was arrested a few hours after Hamid stepped off the Sri Lankan airlines flight.

“He took a photo from the operations centre of MACL of police receiving Hamid on the runway,” the source said.

A family member of Shakir told online paper CNM that that the photograph made its way to social media after Shakir posted it on a private group on Viber.

A police spokesperson confirmed Shakir’s arrest, but declined to reveal the charges against him. The criminal court extended his remand detention for five days on October 31.

The man Shakir had photographed is in custody on suspicion of links to an explosion on Yameen’s speedboat on September 28.

Hamid was arrested from a condominium in Kuala Lumpur on October 28, along with four other Maldivians, at the request of the Maldivian police.

Police officers had raided Hamid’s residence in Malé on the night of October 16. The court warrant authorising the search was issued in connection to the explosion on the president’s speedboat, which the government says was caused by a bomb targeting Yameen.

The warrant authorised the seizure of security camera footage and said that police intelligence have learned of efforts to erase the footage and “destroy other evidence.”

Hamid’s lawyer Husnu Suood has told media that according to the police, Hamid was arrested on suspicion of threatening the president following the raid on his home.

Meanwhile, Adeeb was arrested on October 24 upon his arrival from Singapore on suspicion of links to the alleged assassination attempt. He denies any involvement in the blast on the “Finifenma” speedboat.