Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) investigation report has revealed that the Police and the military had not taken sufficient measures to control the violence and unrest in Addu on February 8.
The report publicized by HRCM following the investigation into the violence in Addu, expressed belief that the damages inflicted on public and private property on February 8 could have been minimized if the security forces had executed its responsibilities to the best of its ability.
HRCM in its report said that the Police had used inhumane tactics on the persons arrested in relation to the violence on February 8, while noting that Police had failed to ensure fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of the detainees.
“It is noted that ensuring fundamental rights of the people had faced major obstacles during the violence that swept across Addu where courts and Police property had been severely damaged,” report read.
HRCM had taken statements from the people arrested on February 8, where some had described accounts of Police brutality and torture. In addition, Police had used obscene language and used pepper spray after they were taken into custody, according to the victims.
Report added that some people had been taken to the hospital for treatment following the brutal tactics of the Police.
According to the information provided to the HRCM by Police, two notorious gangs in Addu had operated on that day armed with knives, metal pipes and stones. Police stressed that though the Police in-charge at the time had been advised to use tear gas to control the crowd after the gangs had attacked Police with weapons, the request to use force had been denied. Police then had left the area fearing for their safety as the protest spurned out of control, the report further quoted the Police.
The report said that clothing, money, computers, cash cards, educational certificates and other expensive items of the Police had been destroyed after the arson attack on the Police accommodation quarters. Police revealed that its officers had also received death threats from various people.
In the report Police denied any inhumane actions against the people and stressed that all people arrested had been offered protection obligated by the law.
Some political parties and members of the public had told HRCM that the Police buildings and courts had been torched by MDP supporters. To that end, they had urged for action to be taken against the perpetrators, HRCM report read.
HRCM in the report after the probe into the unrest in Addu on February 8 added that the Police Service and Police Integrity Commission had been asked to immediately investigate and take action against the officers responsible for brutality and torture. In addition, HRCM had also made recommendations on measures to improve the Police institution in its report.