Three members of Maldivian Democratic Party’s national council have been detained on charges of rioting and attempting to overthrow the government.
Mohamed ‘Waddey’ Waheed, Ahmed Easa and Ashad Ali were arrested around midnight on Thursday, shortly after protests broke out on the streets of Malé. Around 200 people, including Easa, were protesting after the much-anticipated Al Jazeera documentary Stealing Paradise released the previous day exposed large-scale corruption in the government.
A day after the documentary was aired, former President Mohamed Nasheed had appealed people to protest against the government. “Maldives needs to be saved. We are all working. Important to take to the streets tonight with renewed hope,” he said in a tweet.
The warrant, issued a day before the arrest, said that the three were suspected of “plotting and enlisting help to topple the legal government, trying to create hatred between the public and the state institutions, and planning to create discord and unrest in Malé.”
They are being investigated under section 610 of the penal code for ‘rioting and engaging in violent attempts to overthrow the government’. They were taken to criminal court on Friday afternoon where Judge Adam Arif sentenced them to a remand of 13 days.
The three have now been lodged at a custodial detention centre at Dhoonidhoo.
The protests also saw the arrest of four video-journalists from local TV channels Raajje TV and Sangu TV. The journalists had their cameras and streaming equipment confiscated by the police, interrupting a live broadcast.
The four were accused of “promoting and enlisting people to join the protests” before being released later that night.
(Additional reporting by Xiena Saeed)