Nasheed in defense of Sikka: Confession was through torture!

Speaker of Parliament, Mohammed Nasheed. | Photo: Majlis

Malé, Maldives – Former President and Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Nasheed said today that Sikka Ahmed Ismail Manik was tortured to confess to his involvement in the November 3 attack.

Sikka Ismail is the father of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s wife Fazna Ahmed. Sikka is married to Nasheed’s aunt. He was convicted of participating in the November 3 attack and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

November 3 is celebrated as Victory Day in Maldives after attempted coup d’état in 1988 by a group of Maldivians led by businessman Abdullah Luthufi and assisted by armed mercenaries of a Tamil secessionist organisation from Sri Lanka, the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), to overthrow the government in the island republic of Maldives was foiled.

During the attack nineteen locals lost their lives including eight military officers and eleven people from the public. By the time Indian military reached the Maldives, the attackers were on their way to flee the country after their leaders were killed.

Nasheed tweeted that linking the November 3, 1988 attack on Maldives and of Sikka Ahmed Manik to damage his reputation was unacceptable.

“The confession taken from him after he was severely tortured and brought to the brink of death is a big fraud,” Nasheed said.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1988 after pleading guilty to his involvement in the aggressive attack that killed nineteen Maldivians. However, after two years in jail, then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom pardoned Sikka.

According to the High Court judgment of August 12, 1989, Luthfi, the mastermind behind the November 3 attack told Sikka that, he had joined the leaders of the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and that he was looking for a vehicle to go to Malé with weapons. He asked Sikka if he could take the fighters to Malé in boats from Sri Lanka.

In addition, Sikka was approached to obtain a communication set between Sri Lanka and Maldives, and the type and number of the set was given to Sikka. Lutfi told Sikka about his relationship with the PLOTE and discussed the division of positions if the regime was changed. Sikka confessed that he told some Maldivians that Lutfi was going to Malé with some people to carry out an attack.

Sikka was convicted of “concealing information about the plans of Hajarage Abdullah Lutfi to undermine the independence and sovereignty of Maldives and deprive the nation of its sovereignty”. The then Chief Justice Moosa Fathuhi, Justice Ibrahim Naseer and Justice Abdullah Adam also ruled that he was an accomplice to the attack.

The government has been criticized on social media for not celebrating Victory Day in a colorful manner. The ruling coalition party MRM has also called for a colorful celebration of the day.

Former President Abdullah Yameen also criticized this government for not celebrating Victory Day at national level. Yameen yesterday criticized November 3 as “Sikka Day” in an English poem.

He also stated that the value of national heroes has been degraded for personal gain and interest.

In the past, the governments had celebrated the day on a national level, however, the government has not done so since 2020. However, President Solih issued an address on the Presidential Office website yesterday.