American ambassador for Maldives and Sri Lanka, Atul Keshap has raised concerns about the growing number of arrests from political gatherings in Maldives.
In a tweet by Keshap, he said that “arrests are happening so fast during the Maldives state of emergency that it is hard to keep track.”
He also questioned the state asking “how many duly elected Members of Parliament and constitutionally designated officers of the government are now in jail?”
Many protestors, including former police commissioner MP Abdulla Riyaz, former Parliament Speaker MP Abdulla Shahid and MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed were arrested from the opposition rally on Friday.
Mihaaru is aware that over 30 people were arrested on Friday and everyone, except the former police commissioner have been released since.
In response to Keshap's comments, ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) parliament group’s leader Ahmed Nihan said that foreign ambassadors do not need to know how many people are in the Maldives' prisons, during a press conference on Saturday.
Nihan said that the power to arrest and detain lawbreakers lie with the institutions in Maldives and that it is not a concern of foreign ambassadors. He noted that jailed opposition members have been detained for being convicted or suspected of committing different crimes.
He said “we know clearly why, and what crime they have been arrested for. The foreigners don’t know.”
He criticized foreign institutions claiming that, Maldives is facing a lot of foreign pressure because other religions and same sex marriage is not allowed here. Nihan said that this is what they are trying to gain in the name of human rights. However, this will not be allowed in Maldives and the government will uphold the Islamic values, he assured.
While several arrests have been made from every opposition rally, Nihan said that the police have been exemplary since announcing of state of emergency. He added that the police officers of other counties should take example from them.