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MDP urges further investigation into 2003 Maafushi Prison unrest

Mariyam Malsa
20 September 2020, MVT 15:36
Maafushi Prison in K.Maafushi. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
20 September 2020, MVT 15:36

The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on Saturday, expressed the necessity of conducting further investigations regarding the unrest at Maafushi Prison in 2003, asserting that sufficient investigations were not conducted at the time.

The coalition leader's statement was issued to coincide with the 17th anniversary of the death of 19-year-old inmate Evan Naseem on September 19, 2003.

Evan's death, resulting from beatings and brutal treatment at the hands of security personnel, caused widespread unrest within Maafushi Prison on September 20, 2003. The guards shot live rounds in an attempt to curb the unrest, causing three fatalities and wounding 17 more inmates.

According to MDP's statement, it is currently unknown whether the shootings were ordered by high ranking officers as per the Security Forces Act or whether personnel stationed in Maafushi at the time of the incident acted of their own accord. MDP highlighted that no investigation or trial was carried out concerning the guards that fired the rounds or the officials that may have ordered the measure.

The statement described the unrest at Maafushi as an event that confirmed widespread rumours that inmates in Maldivian prisons and detainment centres were routinely subjected to torture or maltreatment during the presidency of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. MDP also noted that the incident precipitated political reform in Maldives by increasing pressure on the government.

The unrest at Maafushi Prison in 2003 triggered protests in the capital city of Male' prompting Gayoom's administration to announce a state of emergency over Male' and several neighboring islands.