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Police release terrorism suspect under MoniCon order

Shahudha Mohamed
18 January 2021, MVT 18:20
Police officers during the special operation conducted as part of an investigation with the Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
18 January 2021, MVT 18:20

Maldives Police Service, on Monday, confirmed the release of a Maldivian male, aged 34, suspected of terrorism, arrested on October 15 after his return from the war-torn lands of Syria.

According to police, he was released under the MoniCon order on December 3, after a brief period at the National Reintegration Centre.

The suspect was the first alleged insurgent detained at the reintegration centre, established under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Shortly after his arrest, the Criminal Court remanded remanded him for 30 days to complete the assessment required by law, to ensure whether insurgents who return to Maldives from foreign conflicts took part in acts of terrorism or received any such training.

The Anti-Terrorism Act came into effect in 2015 during the tenure of the former home minister, Umar Naseer, who took the initiative to tag dangerous suspects under the MoniCon order.

The MoniCon order is issued by the High Court, based on the home minister’s proposals, to monitor the activities of dangerous suspects. A special committee was assembled to counsel the home minister on issuing the order.

Violations of the MoniCon order carries a jail sentence of one and half years.

The issue of growing religious extremism in Maldives raised alarm in 2019, prompting authorities to clamp down on attempts to spread extremist ideologies in the island nation.

In December 2019, Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohamed Hameed declared that many insurgents who fought in the Syrian and Afghan conflicts returned to Maldives and continued to spread extremist ideologies in the country.

At the time authorities revealed statistics pertaining to the issue, disclosing that 59 insurgents were in Syria at the time, out of which most are children.

The statistics also noted that 432 individuals from across Maldives took interest in taking part in the Syrian conflict and attempted to travel to the warzone, and approximately 1,400 individuals are following the ideologies of Islamic State and will not hesitate to kill for their cause.

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