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Gayyoom hits back at his own Human Rights Commission Press Release
Male', 21st Sept. 2004
Maldives Human Rights Commission's official press release was refused publication in any of the local press and media. However, it has been widely distributed in Maldives and also it has been distributed throughout the world in English as well.
Gayyoom says: There was no crackdown We say: It was a peaceful demonstration
In a Television Maldives announcement, the press release was read today followed by a press release by the Ministry of Home Affair.
The Human Rights Commission of Maldives specifically mentioned the blindfolding and inhumane acts by the Police. The Home Ministry press release said that the detainees were blindfolded for security and that they were given lifejackets during transfer to Girifushi Island but the fact remains that they were blindfolded and cuffed, which is very inhumane and possible contravenes international maritime law. The whole crackdown was a huge big feast for the police, according to locals. One young boy resisted during transfer and police shot him with rubber bullets from close range. They then said, the real ones will be used if anyone resisted or struggled.
This is in contrast to what President Gayyoom said to the BBC on 23rd August 2004. He said that there was no crack down, that no one was blindfolded or handcuffed. Furthermore he said there were no beatings despite several detainees being brought to Male’ for medical using walking sticks according to their family members. These people were healthy at the time of the arrest. And now, a government authority, The Maldives Human Rights Commission has stated that this was inhumane and that they were deeply concerned.
Many pundits say that the Human Rights Commissioner of Maldives will be joining the reformists in jail shortly, possibly with preferential treatment. Unconfirmed reports say that he has already been questioned by the government. He cannot be reached on the phone.
Maldives Human Rights Commission Press Release (banned in Maldives)
The following News Release is by the Maldives Human Rights Commission today. This was refused publication by all local media. Translated by Dhivehi Observer. The news release states that the detainees were treated inhumanely and calls for repeal of state of emergency. read more
Maldives leader denies crackdown
Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied unfairly targeting pro-democracy campaigners. Mr Gayoom told the BBC recent arrests had not been part of a crackdown, but were aimed at restoring order after his opponents resorted to violence. read more
The Maldives President, Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom
"There has been no crackdown on reformists"
Listen to BBC World Service
MDP Spokesman, Ahmed Moosa (Sappe') on BBC World Service - The World Today GMT 23:00 Reaction to Gayyoom's Interview to the BBC
© Dhivehi Observer 2004