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President Office's Communications Secretary resigns

Mariyam Malsa
25 January 2021, MVT 11:20
The President's Office in Male' City. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Mariyam Malsa
25 January 2021, MVT 11:20

President Office's Secretary of Communications Hassan Ismail, on Sunday, resigned from his position.

Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, Hassan stated that he submitted his resignation to focus on personal projects and pursuits.

Hassan's resignation was sent to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih following a number of changes in the President's Office press team.

On January 1, the President's Office appointed Mabrook Azeez as it's spokesperson, granting him the leading position in the PO press team.

Hassan's resignation was tendered in the absence of any action on the part of the President's Office to adequately reprimand him over accusations of bribery and sexual harassment against the editor of a local newspaper, despite being urged to by relevant local and international entities.

The complaint, which was formally lodged at the President's Office by the editor of The Edition, Rae Munavvar, on January 21, 2020 and at Maldives Police Service on February 4, 2020 gained public traction following social media outrage after Rae noted in a tweet that no actions had been taken by the administration till date.

Following the conclusion of the police investigation, the Prosecutor General's Office has since asserted that the evidence is insufficient to press charges against Hassan Ismail.

The parliament and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have yet to publicise a decision regarding the matter.

Further, despite the urging of relevant local and international entities, the President is yet to take any action to adequately reprimand PO Director of Communications Ismail Hassan, who stands accused of bribing and sexually harassing the editor of a local media outlet.

Although the government had immediately sacked other high profile individuals, including former Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, over similar allegations, touting its “zero-tolerance policy” for rape and sexual assault, Ismail Hassan served at the President's Office until his resignation with zero blowback incurred for the accusations levelled against him and without protections to other vulnerable colleagues.

Public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.

Several child and women rights groups have criticized the incumbent administration's constant assurance that the government has a "zero-tolerance policy" towards sexual abuse, fueled by a string of sex crimes reported recently, followed by controversial arrests and alleged misconduct of police.

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