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Home Ministry responds to rumours of freed inmates

Fathmath Shaahunaz
16 June 2019, MVT 17:59
Maafushi Prison in K.Maafushi. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
16 June 2019, MVT 17:59

Following a recent incident where an inmate who was not pardoned by the president was freed, Ministry of Home Affairs stated Sunday that only the completed investigation would reveal whether any other such detainees had been released.

Maldives Police Service and Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) are currently probing the case where an inmate, who was not among those recently pardoned by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih under the Clemency Act, was released.

The incident sparked talks and media reports that nine other such inmates were also released.

In response to the situation, State Minister of Home Affairs Ali Nazeer highlighted that Minister Imran Abdulla has ordered the police to investigate the case. He stated that the truth would only be known from the results of the investigation.

However, the spokesperson of MCS denied the rumours, asserting that only one such inmate was released in the incident. The spokesperson further noted that MCS had investigated the case and reported it to the police as well.

While the inmate in question is back in detention, local media Mihaaru reports that he is serving 25 years over drug dealing, an unpardonable offence under Maldivian law.

Although MCS suspended only an officer of their Offender Management Department, who prepared the release chit for the inmate, the chit was also approved and signed by the head of the department, Mohamed Tholaal, and Commissioner of Prisons Abdulla Munaz.

MCS assured that no individuals who would be a conflict of interest, including Tholaal and Munaz, are involved in the investigation.

The incident occurred in the wake of a nationwide jail audit, which detailed several points of concern regarding prisons in Maldives. The report revealed that the state spends MVR 15,000 on each inmate per month, and declared that the prisons were not in any conditions suitable for human dwelling. The report also highlighted discrimination between inmates.

The jail audit commission advised to improve the conditions of prisons as soon as possible, and to better their operations. The home ministry is currently working on implementing the commission's points.

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