Commander of the Emergency Support Group (ESG) was suspended on Saturday over actions committed by Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) officers against inmates while suppressing unrest which occurred at Maafushi Prison on Thursday.
Speaking to media after visiting Maafushi Prison, Minister of Home Affairs Imran Abdulla stated that the responsibility of controlling emergency situations within the prison fell on ESG as per regulations.
Reasoning that ESG's Commander would be in charge during such situations, Minister Imran stated that Commissioner of Prisons Abdulla Munaz was ordered to suspend the Commander until the ongoing investigation concludes.
The home minister disclosed that six inmates were injured as a result of Thursday's events. However, he did not provide further details regarding the extent of the injuries sustained by inmates in question.
However, the Minister denied accusations that inmates had their heads shaven. Instead, he revealed that MSC officers trimmed their hair.
He also confirmed that Thursday's events occurred due to inmates assaulting an MCS officer.
Reportedly, some inmates requested the officer on duty to bring them an item from another cell. The inmates assaulted the officer with a metal rod when he refused to grant the request.
In response, five inmates were taken out from two cells, handcuffed, forced to the ground and beaten with batons.
MCS has denied the occurrence of such inhumane actions.
Minister Imran guaranteed that the matter would be investigated thoroughly and necessary action would be taken. He previously stated that MSC used an excessive and disproportionate level of force to control the situation in Maafushi Prison.
Furthermore, the Home Minister admitted the necessity of reforming Maldivian prisons and stated that efforts were underway to prevent a repetition of Thursday's events.
On Saturday, Minister Imran guaranteed to amend prison regulations to ensure that disproportionate force could not be used against inmates.
Reports by the Jail Audit Commission formed by the current government clearly state that inmates in Maldivian prisons are subjected to inhumane treatment. Despite a monthly government expenditure of MVR 15,000 per inmate, the report asserts that prisons are not suitable for human habitation.