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London police probe death threat to Al Jazeera journo behind Maldives graft documentary

Mohamed Visham
03 September 2016, MVT 13:23
Al Jazeera claims to have uncovered new evidence of corruption, theft and abuse of power. The award winning investigative team says it will reveal how a president hijacked a nation and stole millions of dollars.
Mohamed Visham
03 September 2016, MVT 13:23

London police have launched an investigation into a death threat sent to a member of the Al Jazeera team behind the new documentary into mass corruption and abuse of power in the Maldives.

Created by the Emmy and BAFTA winning Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the documentary is set to be aired on Sunday.

The threat was sent to Will Jordon via the Twitter handle 'DhivehiLashkaru' claiming to have hired gun men to shoot the reporter.

"On Thursday we were made aware of a specific threat circulated on social media against one of our investigative reporters. We immediately notified Metropolitan police in London who have launched an investigation," Director of the unit Clayton Swisher said.

"We similarly call on the Maldivian government to assist with identifying those behind the campaign of intimidation and we urge all parties to keep an open mind ahead of the film broadcast."

The hugely anticipated documentary is believed to have been made on the largest embezzlement of state funds in the history of the tiny island nation which has been heavily linked to president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

An official audit report had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.

Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) had mediated the leasing of over 59 different tourist hotels, resorts and yacht marinas out of which 53 had been leased through an agreement with the tourism ministry.

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company.

President Yameen is facing intense pressure from a united opposition as it looks to oust him from office and form an interim government.

The Indian Ocean archipelago adopted multi-party democracy in 2008 after three decades of autocratic rule by Yameen’s half brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

But it has been gripped by turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader Mohamed Nasheed was toppled in 2012 in what he claims what was a coup.

Nasheed, whose jailing last year on terror charges has been widely criticised by the West, has since secured political asylum in Britain after travelling there for medical treatment while on prison leave.

The Criminal Court meanwhile has issued warrants for the arrest of Nasheed and former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who heads the opposition coalition.