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The following News Release is by the Maldives Human Rights Commission today. This was refused publication by all local media. The news release states that the detainees were treated inhumanely and calls for repeal of state of emergency. Translated by Dhivehi Observer. Original in Dhivehi.
Maldives Human Rights Commission
Human Rights Commission has decided to investigate once again the conditions of the people who were arrested by the Government after the incidents of 12th and 13th August
This commission initially checked on the conditions of the people arrested due August incident by sending members of the commission to Maafushi Jail and Dhoonidhoo Jail on 23rd August 2003. During the visit, the commission members was able to meet with 19 people out of the 59 detained in Dhoonidhoo Jail as well as other 21 detainees in Maafushi Jail. Amongst them were 7 Members of the Parliament (Constitutional Assembly) and the Member of the Human Rights Commission.
In our second visit, we will pay attention to determine whether improvements have been made to the conditions of the detainees that were observed in the first visit.
Findings of the first visit and investigations include;
4.1 The detaining arrangement was that four detainees were kept in one a small cell in Maafushi Jail. These cells had very poor air circulation and was extremely hot during the day
4.2 Although there were female detainees in Dhoonidhoo Prison there were no female guards in Dhoonidhoo Prison
4.3 Amongst the detainees in Dhoonidhoo Prison were diabetics, heart patients as well as psychological patients but there was no arrangement for a resident health workers there
4.4 Preferential treatment were given to some detainees
The following details were noted from the meetings and discussions with the detainees
5.1 They mentioned that excessive power was used whilst arresting a Member of Parliament and others
5.2 They also stated that whilst they were detained in Male' they were all blindfolded and hand cuffed to the back and some people were leg cuffed; And, that they were blindfolded and cuffed even during the sea transfer from Male' to Girifushi Island (National Security Training Island).
5.3 The detainees stated that they were beaten and tortured.
5.4 Detainees also stated that Police spoke in filthy language and shouted abuse at them.
5.5 Detainees also stated that some male and female prisoners were sexually assaulted by Police.
The commission believes that these are inhumane acts. The commission has notified the authorities of these concerns. The commission also recommended to the authorities to conduct an independent inquiry to investigate the treatment and activities of the police when arresting people and also with regard to the conditions in which they are being detained.
Human Rights Commission of the Maldives was founded by a Presidential decree. The mission of this commission is to investigate violations of human rights; we are conducting our activities without the influence of any one and in the most independent manner possible.
Over a month has passed since the declaration of the State of Emergency by the President and some basic rights are suspended for those who are accused of being involved in the incidents of 12th and 13th August, hence the commission calls to repeal the State of Emergency as soon as possible. We have notified the authorities of this request.
Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned about prolongation of the State of Emergency in the Maldives.
20th September 2004
Maldives Human Rights Commission, ADK Tower, 8th Floor, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Male', Maldives Tel: 336539 Fax: 338658 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Dhivehi Observer 2004