Police ramped up their investigation into an alleged coup by arresting three more people, including the private secretary of a former president, and launching a manhunt for two ruling party defectors.
The probe began Saturday night with the arrest of MP Faris Maumoon for attempting to overthrow the government by bribing politicians, and intensified Wednesday evening with the arrest of three people close to Faris’s father Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on the same charges, local media reported.
Gayoom’s private secretary Najma Ibrahim, his private security guard Mohamed Azmee, and an expatriate driver were arrested, police confirmed to the Maldives Independent.
Najma, who had a baby eight months ago, has been transferred to house arrest after lawyers said there was a health risk to her infant who would be deprived of breastfeeding if she was in police custody.
Her boss, Maumoon, condemned her arrest on Twitter.
“Incredible & shocking: a woman employee of my office nursing a 9-month old baby & a private security person were arrested by @PoliceMv last night on terrorism related charges. Beyond comprehension! @hrcmv @amnesty @UNHumanRights @Min_Gender”
A shawl and a phone were confiscated after a search of her house and a phone was confiscated after a search of Azmee’s house. A search was also carried out of Endherigas, which is home to Gayoom’s in-laws.
The warrant said the arrests were necessary because the individuals could remove evidence, influence witnesses and obstruct the investigation. The warrants for Azmee and Najma, which have been seen by the Maldives Independent, said there was evidence in the form of witness statements, call records and video footage.
Their arrests came as police launched a manhunt for two ruling party defectors over their connections to Faris’s bribery case. However police would not say which bribery case as the opposition lawmaker is facing two separate allegations.
The MPs, who were stripped of their seats by the Elections Commission, have been given 14 days to go to the police.
Ilham called on police to stop intimidating his family and said he would be in the Maldives to answer their questions soon.
“Two police officers went into my family’s house in Malé while knowing I live abroad. After attempting to meet my wife after being told I wasn’t in Malé they noted the information of my younger sibling and left. I will soon be in Maldives to answer any MPS inquiry. But I urge MPS to stop the intimidation and harassment on my family for political purposes,” he tweeted.
“I will come to Maldives within the 14 days given by police and I will answer properly to everything police want an answer to. Their intimidation does not scare me,” Sinaan told Avas Thursday.
Meanwhile lawyers for Faris have accused the police of asking ridiculous questions regarding the alleged coup.
He was asked if he had plotted to overthrow the government with a fellow lawmaker and was then asked what his response would be to such an accusation, said his lead counsel and uncle Maumoon Hameed.