The Maldives Police Service has threatened to take disciplinary action against police officers who publish, share, or like political posts on social media.
Assistant Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed sent a letter to department heads last week warning against participation in political debates on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The letter was leaked on social media.
“We will be taking action against police officers who comment, like, share or re-tweet political posts, photos, or publish political posts on social media,” the letter stated.
A police spokesperson told The Maldives Independent the letter was a reminder for police officers.
“Our code of ethics, regulation and the Police Act prohibits police officers from involvement in any form of politics. But we have noticed an increase of policemen who do not abide by this,” he said.
The move follows President Abdulla Yameen accusing his detained deputy, Ahmed Adeeb, of exerting undue influence over the police force through financial inducements.
In his first public address since a blast on the president’s speedboat on September 28, Yameen blamed the police leadership for allowing the vice president to gain influence.
A day before Adeeb’s arrest on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the president with a bomb on his speedboat, former Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed and two deputy commissioners were transferred to government ministries.
The president appointed Assistant Commissioner Ahmed Areef as the acting police chief. Last week, Areef shuffled senior officers in charge of various police departments in a shakeup of the top leadership posts.
Yameen had also acknowledged that the removal of the police chief and his deputies was prompted by “the extent of the vice president’s influence”.
Adeeb had gained the influence by using funds siphoned from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Yameen said. The vice president had provided “various official and unofficial resources the police needed, outside of the government’s budget.”
The president revealed that official “request letters” with the police letterhead were found in the home of Abdulla Ziyath, a close associate of the vice president and the MMPRC’s managing director.