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Prisons authority denies unlicensed doctors treating inmates

Abdulla Rasheed, who was serving a five-year sentence on assault charges, died last October while being treated at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.



The prisons authority has denied that unlicensed doctors are treating inmates, as a rights group filed a complaint about the medical care of a detainee who died last October.

Abdulla Rasheed, who was serving a five-year sentence on assault charges, died while being treated at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), which campaigns for detainee rights, lodged a complaint with the Maldives Medical and Dental Council to investigate whether an unregistered doctor was treating Rasheed in prison.

“Our organization received information that, among the people providing medical treatment for Abdulla Rasheed, there was a practitioner who had not received a medical license in the Maldives. Therefore we requested to investigate whether this is true,” said a letter from the MDN, a copy of which has been seen by the Maldives Independent.

Rasheed’s family also previously alleged that he had been treated by an unlicensed practitioner. Maldives Correctional Services denied the allegations.

“It’s not true. Unlicensed doctors don’t give treatment in Maafushi prison,” a spokesman told Mihaaru.

“We’re very concerned about the increase in deaths in custody. It is frequent enough to need an investigation. An unqualified doctor shouldn’t be attending to detainees, ” said Shahindha Ismail, MDN’s executive director.

“Prisoners don’t have the liberty to choose their doctors. It’s the government’s responsibility to provide adequate healthcare. If families have the constant fear that people in custody may get killed if they don’t have adequate healthcare, it is because the government isn’t able to guarantee their right to life,” she said.

The NGO also called on the Maldives Medical and Dental Council to guarantee that the people attending to those in the custody of Maldives Correctional Services and Maldives Police Service were properly licensed.

Rasheed was arrested at a May Day rally in 2015, when 25,000 people turned out on to the streets demanding the release of former president Mohamed Nasheed, who was convicted on controversial terrorism charges.

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the National Integrity Commission said in October they would investigate his death.

The NIC was closed when the Maldives Independent called asking for progress on the probe and a HRCM spokeswoman said they were looking into the case and “so we can’t reveal details of the case.”

The spokeswoman also said she could not give additional details when asked if the HRCM had lodged the case with the Maldives Medical and Dental Council.

The 51-year-old died from hypovolemic shock due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding, according to his death certificate.