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Foreign journos detained in Maldives to be deported, face 10 year re-entry ban

Mohamed Visham
28 July 2016, MVT 23:32
One of the two foreign journalists pictured inside the MDP camp, moments before her arrest on Tuesday.
Mohamed Visham
28 July 2016, MVT 23:32

The two foreign journalists detained while covering an opposition rally on Wednesday are set to be deported, Immigration department said Thursday.

Immigration spokesperson Hassan Khaleel told Mihaaru that the journalists arrested from the rally have since been released after the court refused a remand extension.

Mihaaru understands that the two journalists were a Polish and an Italian national who are in the Maldives on tourist visa.

"If they have entered the Maldives on tourist visa they will have to act like tourists. If they do anything else we will be compelled to send them back. We are trying to send them back tonight [Thursday], Khaleel said.

Normally tourist visa violators are deported with a 10 year re-entry ban, Khaleel said.

But he did not specify if the two journalists were banned from re-entering the Maldives for a decade.

The two journalists pictured with former president Nasheed in 2012.

Eyewitnesses said the two journalists were covering the gathering at the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) camp near the artificial beach when they were taken away by around a dozen police officers.

“There was no clashes. But the opposition supporters protested against the government and the police,” an eyewitness told Mihaaru.

The two were carrying media passes issued by the European Journalist Legitimation registered under Germany’s GNS Press Association.

Sources say the two journalists were deported while they were in the Maldives to cover the controversial fall of former president Mohamed Nasheed’s government in 2012.

Police spokesperson had earlier said two foreigners were taken in for questioning from the artificial beach area but insisted that the two had not been detained.

The government has stepped up its crackdown on media recently forcing the closure of critical media outlets and moved to silence free media with a bid to criminalise defamation.

 

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