Amnesty International on Monday, called on the authorities of Maldives to put an end to the degrading treatment of prisoners after multiple reports of torture and other ill-treatment were reported recently including the death of a prisoner without a known cause.
Amnesty referred to three separate cases of degradation of prisoners and urged the Maldivian authorities must conduct transparent, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into the death of a prisoner and allegations of torture of individuals in custody.
A death of a prisoner without a known cause raises serious concerns about human rights violations committed against persons detained by the authorities in the Maldives.Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner
Mohamed Aslam, 40, a native of the Vadhoo island in the Gaaf Dhaal atoll, died in custody on the evening of 13 September 2021. He was serving a three-year prison sentence for drug possession. Maldives Correctional Service said that he collapsed in prison and was taken to hospital where he was declared dead. His family members said that they were not informed until they found out from another source and subsequently inquired about his condition with the authorities.
That a year-old allegation of torture requires a parliamentary committee’s nod to launch a criminal investigation, points at the authorities’ lack of accountability and timely intervention.Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner
In a separate incident, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Services on 13 September recommended criminal investigation of police officials who allegedly tortured Ahmed Siraj following his arrest on suspicion of theft on 6 September 2020. Ahmed Siraj said he was taken into a room at the police station and tortured to force an “admission of guilt.”
Ahmed Ibrahim, Torture in Prison
On 17 September, Ahmed Ibrahim, a prisoner at the Maafushi prison sustained burn injuries after an inmate allegedly threw hot water at him. Prison authorities said that the incident is believed to be a “conflict between the cellmates” who have now been separated and put in different cells. “Is this how the rights of the prisoners are protected?” Ahmed Ibrahim’s family member is quoted in the media.
Amnesty stated that there is a history of allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Maldives prisons, as well as overcrowding and inadequate medical care and urged authorities to investigate torture cases independently and expeditiously, without the involvement of the agencies allegedly responsible for the negligence or human rights violations.
While the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) reported receiving 28 complaints of torture, 17 accusing the Maldivian police service The organization said that the cases must be investigated independently and expeditiously, without the involvement of the agencies allegedly responsible for the negligence or human rights violations.