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Manipulating system to release convicts now common: Former CP Hameed

Former Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed criticised Police Spokesperson ACP Ahmed Shifan’s statement blaming the former government’s release of convicts for rising crime rates in Malé City.

Ameera Osmanagic
21 June 2024, MVT 15:10
[File] Former Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed —
Ameera Osmanagic
21 June 2024, MVT 15:10

Pardoning and offering clemency is within the system, but releasing convicts by taking undie advantage of the system has now become common practice in the Maldives, former Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed said today.

His remarks were in response to recent comments by Spokesperson and Assistant Commissioner of Police Ahmed Shifan concerning the recent surge in crime rates in the capital city, Malé.

“It is unbecoming of a spokesperson representing the Maldives Police Service to make such an irresponsible comment. It erodes the already wavering public trust and confidence in the police’s impartiality and professionalism,” Hameed wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

He went on to describe the manipulation of tools within the system by both current and past governments to release accused and re-offending individuals on judicial remand for major crimes or to grant parole and clemency to serving offenders as problematic.

“This has become a norm in the Maldives, regardless of which political party is in power. It is a flawed mindset to believe that offenders must always stay behind bars. Parole and clemency are part of the legal process. But one that has to be implemented responsibly, he said, adding that it is a challenging task.

“Our mindset must be to hold ourselves accountable no matter the obstacles and find ways to overcome them. Not to keep passing blame,” he said.

According to data provided to Mihaaru News by Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology, a total of 434 convicts were released from prison between 1st January 2023 to 16th November 2023, during former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration.

Out of this, 53 were released on parole, out of which most were imprisoned for drug related crimes.

Recently, Spokesperson of Police, Shifan attributed the release of these 434 convicts and the lack of a robust system to monitor them, to the rise in crime rates in Malé City.

Former ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) also issued a statement criticising Shifan’s statement accusing the current administration of releasing convicts ahead of the most recent parliamentary elections, adding that proper procedures were not followed in pardoning them.

As such, the opposition party called on to the government to publish the list of those convicts.

In its statement, MDP maintained that all convicts released during their administration, led by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, were pardoned as per Act number 2/2010 (Clemency Act). It detailed that those who were reintegrated into society were identified to be individuals with good behaviour, and those who had completed various reintegration programmes and were found to be ideal candidates for an additional chance.

The statement further clarified that their release was conditional to them not committing further criminal offences within one year from the date of their release, which if violated, would have them returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence without an additional verdict.

Based on this, MDP claims that failure to return those currently committing crimes back to prison means that they were not released by the previous government led by the party.

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