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MNDF issues statement on the inquiry by the Parliament’s 241 committee.

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The Maldives National Defence Force has issued a statement following the inquiry  by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) into the terror attack against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed on 06th May 2021.

In the Statement, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) stated that they would continue to fully cooperate with the committee in providing information. They continued to state that they acknowledge  Article 99 (a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Maldives which states on the powers bestowed on the Parliament and its committees.

Article 99 (a) of the Constitution of the Maldives states that “The People’s Majlis or any of its committees has the power to summon any person to appear before it to give evidence under oath, or to produce documents. Any person who is questioned by the People’s Majlis as provided for in this Article shall answer to the best of his knowledge and ability”. Article 99 (b) states that “The People’s Majlis or any of its committees has the power to require any person or institution to report to it”.

MNDF continued on to cite Article 242 on the Constitution of the Maldives which states that “Each security service shall be under the responsibility of a Minister, who shall be answerable for its operations to the President and to the People’s Majlis.”. The MNDF also cited Article 17 (B) of the Military Law which states that “All personnel will held answerable to the Chief of Defence Force on how they use their legally bestowed powers and on how they execute their duties as a soldier, honestly and sincerely.”.

This was followed by citing Article 11 (e) which states that “The Chief of Defence Force will be held answerable to the Minister on how the Chief of Defence Force uses his legally endowed powers  to fulfill his duties.”.

The statement continued on to state that interviewing individual soldiers to assess the functioning of the MNDF is against the practicing military hierarchy and against the established “Chain of Command” and the “Command and Control” of the organization.  They stated that continuing to do so may cause the collapse of the subordinate echelons based on which the command and control of the defence force is maintained, leading to irreparable  damage to national security.

MNDF stated that instead of individuals soldiers being questioned, the whole institution will be providing answer in their place and that if the committee requires information on the duties of an individual solider, the MNDF will continue to provide that information in his place as an institution.

They also noted in their closing remarks that this decision was made according to the advisory committee of the Maldives National Defence Force.

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MNP to decide on going to court over Villimale’ WDC by-election

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Maldives National Party (MNP) has stated a decision will be made soon on going to court over concerns related to the Women’s Development Committee (WDC) by-election held for Villimale’ constituency in Male’ City.

The by-election, which was held on May 14, was contested by candidates from MNP and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). The election was won by PPM’s Fathimath Nazima with 359 votes, just one vote ahead of MNP’s candidate Aminath Sheeza who received 358 votes.

Speaking at a press conference, Vice President of MNP Ahmed Usham said the party has some valid concerns over the way ballots were counted in some polling stations. Usham stated there were inconsistencies in declaring null or invalid votes at different stations, noting ballots at some stations were counted out due to an additional line on the ballot paper while ballots with the same issue were counted as valid in other stations. He said the party is thinking of going to court over the case, and would be making a decision after the case is fully analysed.

Following the by-election, MNP requested a recount of the ballots to confirm the result. After reviewing MNP’s request, ECM decided to recount two ballots which received complaints during the vote. However, after recounting the two ballots, ECM stated there is no issue that would lead to a change of results.

 

Source: psmnews

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Dr. Ahmed Shaheed: Solih administration joins ranks of most repressive governments, time to CMAG Maldives?

Hamdhan Shakeel

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Former Maldivian Foreign Minister and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Dr. Ahmed Shaheed has stated that the Solih administration has joined the most repressive governments.

Following yesterday’s arrest of key activists associated with the India Out campaign which seeks to expel the Indian military forces in the Maldives and the ensuing protest and arrests last night, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed took to Twitter to express his disapproval of the Solih administration’s suppression of people’s right to freedom of expression.

In his Tweet, the former Foreign Minister state that “if the news reports of arrests to suppress dissent against Indian military presence in Maldives is true, this government has joined the ranks of the most repressive governments in Maldives”.

He also questioned whether it is time to add the Government of Maldives to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s agenda.

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Police attacks on Media contributes to decline in accountability and democratic backsliding.

Hamdhan Shakeel

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Staff Sergeant Solih is alleged to have threatened local media on the night of 18 May 2022.

The recent rallies and protest calling for the removal of Indian military forces in the Maldives has one undeniable fact, that the Maldives Police Service has become highly critical of local media outlets.

The advent of democracy marked the ushering in of a new era where unlike the yesteryears of Maumoon and his predecessors, the public were free to criticize and call for reform within the government and military forces. No longer were the police able to arrest people in the middle of the night and hold them in solitary confinement till a verdict is passed against them in a highly politicized judiciary.

Just as with every other sate institution, the police were held accountable, senior officers were prosecuted for their actions. Massive reform was made within the institution to hold them accountable and to develop a modern police force.

However, following the appointment of the former officer Mohamed Hameed who had been dismissed for leaking intelligence documents, as the Commissioner of Police, the whole institution has undergone a dramatic backsliding in its reform and development.

As a member of the press, we deal with the Police on a daily basis, submitting queries on a wide range of cases. Maldives Police Service has always not been on much good terms with the media thanks to their apparent prejudice that the media is the antithesis to the police in executing their duties during protest and rallies. However, under Commissioner Mohamed Hameed, the Maldives Police Service has adopted an unprecedented stand against media, actively barring media from covering domestic events.

Echoing the Maumoon era police brutality, the Solih administration has also utilized the Police to cover the brutality towards protestors and the media. Several high-profile attacks on the media has been brought to the attention of international media organizations such as RSF. However, this does not even remotely do justice for the countless attacks against the press, as they too perform their duty.

Their alienation and refusal to cooperate with the fourth estate is evident from their official police media group where the police repeatedly decline to even comment on any query by the press, only releasing statements and other messages they see fit.

Unforeseen to he general public, this poses a serious threat to the fundamental checks and balances in the democratic system where state institutions with overwhelming powers are kept in balance by independent state institutions and the fourth estate. In this case, the police’s refusal to cooperate nor allow the media to freely operate and cover political and other protests pose a direct threat to and contribute to the democratic backsliding in the Maldives, by removing the element of accountability from the equation.

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