Maldives police accused of torture and killing a young man

Torture by Maldivian police on detainees has come under spotlight once again with the discovery of a badly beaten body from water in the morning of April 15 in the capital Male’. The young man Hussain Solah was under police custody a few days before his death. Even though the police claim that he was released on April 13, there are no reliable witnesses who had seen him after that. He made no contact with family and friends after his supposed release from police custody.

Thousands of people gathered to protest against what they believed was another murder by police but the protestors themselves became the target of police brutality as they were beaten by an elite police squad, which has been criticized recently by a former British police superintendent.

Mohamed Nasheed, the Chairperson of Maldivian Democratic Party, was also severely beaten by the police and arrested. He was later released and is seeking medical treatment abroad.

The family of the deceased wanted to carry out an autopsy to determine the reasons for the death but the police tried to bury the body. The police then offered to do an autopsy in Maldives by a Sri Lankan pathologist. There are no facilities in the Maldives for making an autopsy. The family refused to have the autopsy done in the Maldives under arrangements made by police. In the end the government has agreed to the family’s request to take the body abroad to make the autopsy.

The police initially said there were no visible injuries on the body, which hundreds of people who saw the body would deny. A concerned doctor posts in MaldivesHealth blog that the doctor who examined the body first refused to sign the papers to bury the body and insisted that the body be taken to hospital for further studies.

The fact of the matter is, the doctor who 1st examined the body, refused to sign the papers insisting that the body would need to be taken to IGMH for further studies as to understand the full extent of the injuries sustained. This was indeed , a highly praise worthy decision in such a pressure situation; none-the-less the right one too.

Our doctors didn’t do a postmortem because it is not permitted for one thing. The other more valid point is that we do not have a person with enough credentials for that procedure. (You wouldn’t have your appendix removed by a dentist, would you?)

Maldives Today laments about the mild reaction from the public to the murder of Solah compared to the wild riots that took place in September 2003 when an inmate was killed in jail by the security forces.


  • There has been other suspicious death as well. No political party or police or even the Maldives Human rights commision dared to investigate these deaths. One such case was that of a man from an ialnd known as Himendhoo. Also there have been several deaths caused by negligence and malpractice by doctors’ and other health professionals .

    Violance is on the increase in Maldives. Daily fights involving cutter knives is common nowadays. People live in fear. On top of all this is a fuelling drug problem which has gripped the whole country in a web.

  • Mohamed

    Police brutality in Maldives is worsenning despite the fact the government has recently signed a convention against torture and illtreatment of persons under police custody.

    No doubt this is the result of the increasing criticism faced by the unpopular government of dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the longest serving leader in Asia.

  • Abdulla Rasheed

    The human rights situation in Maldives under a brutal dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom was and still notorious for the use of torture and to maintain his rule. The total numbers of deaths related to torture and from 1987 until 2007 are unknown. However, there are countless reports of human rights violations, notwithstanding the government prohibits the establishment of independent human rights organizations within the country and rarely permitting foreign human rights watchers inside.
    Human Rights watch and Amnesty International issued regular reports of widespread imprisonment and torture.

    Mr. Salah is not only the victim of this brutal government of Maldives. Political prisoners and detainees are subjected to systematic torture. The bodies of many of those executed had evident signs of torture. Common methods of physical torture included electric shocks or cigarette burns to various parts of their body, pulling out of fingernails, beating with cables, hosepipe or metal rods. In addition, detainees were threatened with rape. They were placed in cells where they could hear the screams of others being tortured and were deliberately deprived of sleep.”

  • Hussain

    There is no doubt that Late Hussain Salah was beaten to death by Maldives riot police. this isnt big problem for Maldivian Police despite the signing of various international treaties, as murder of ppl while in police custody is common, We need Human Rights wtch dog in the Maldives as soon as possible.

  • Yaameen Hameed

    Mr. Gayoom the Ailing Dictator of Maldives, is suffereing from many mental and Physiological ailments.

    By all standards, any phyciatrist that would do an investigation on Mr. Gayoom, will classify him as “if not Sick, as requiring attention” this is the state of affairs.

  • police have tried to bury him at first (without autopsy) ,then they tried to make the autopsy by themselves (ie;by a srilankan doctor they brought),then they tried to play the religion card,asking islamic scholars to give religious verdicts against autopsy,but again they and public pressure forced them to allow it after a lot of threat to salah’s family,beating up demonstartors, and ather means of pressure to stop it (like kicking out a relative solah from some course because she gave an interview t media)..and..

    “There are no facilities in the Maldives for making an autopsy. ”

    and oh yeah.there is no basic health care facilities available in the maldives.and no health guarantee for civil was cut after governemt introduced a health insurance scheme but after few month it was stopped because of some fraud invoved in it have been more than 6 months after that…and still no giving back the health allowances rhat was given before.


    There are lot of evidences that police killed him. when they said that they have released him on 13th, How can we belive that. they brought him to Male’ on 12th mid-day. why they took him to Male’ and released on 13th. There are morethan 200 hundred policeman in his Island. Why cant they investigate his case in his island. why they took him to male’ if there is no evidence. Why they call to directory inqueries to get his home number if he request them to call his home? He knows his home number. lot of question

  • Hassan Saeed, Fedu Island, Addu Atoll

    From my own experiences as a detainee I have no doubt what so ever in mind that Maldivian police killed Mr. Salah. I my self I am a victim of this brutal regime. I was taken to one of the dictator Gayyoom´s jail because I took part in one of the resent demonstrations in Male´.

    “Gayyoom´s dogs left me handicapped” They hit me with their boots and used their cigarette buts to burn my arms. However, I was not so unlucky like late Salah. “I survived because I was not found guilty but I am left hopeless.

    Crime and violent criminal activities of dictator Gayoom have become the sordid nightmare that many Maldivians like my self are faced with daily. It is immoral to ignore dictator Gayyoom´s crimes and it violates every humanitarian principle in Islamic jurisprudence, and international law.

    Hence, I doubt that the family of late Salah will ever find the killers of their loved one in a country where dictator Gayoom influences the judiciary, which is not independent. He appoints and can remove judges, and he can review High Court decisions. But, my wish will always be with late Salah´s family in this very sad time.

    In the last decade the global community has made giant strides to promote and protect human rights. Light has been shined on some of the dark corners of the world that concealed human rights abuses. I wish those who killed Mr. Salah one day be brought to justice.

  • Hussein

    Maldives Chief Torturer must resign..

    1st Hussain Salah was framed by cops with the help of a friend and was arrested and beaten on that night in hithadhoo.. Then was brought to Male and killed by police again, SIMPLY NOT TRUE. We should not wait for any international community to do something or preasure the regime. We must all come out on the street and stop daily movements for some time. Government employees should stop working for few days..

    If Brig..Adam Zahir remains as the in-charge these kinds of , the so cold incindents will definitely occur..

    Dr. Shaheed will say the same. (We are doing every according to the road map) This guy will definitely have no future in any thing..

    Hussain Shareef (Mundhu) NO FUTURE

    Qasim Ibrahim NO FUTURE

    Hill & Knowlton The biggest bastards I have ever seen, for money they are doing all in there capacity to white wash the Beach dictator ship.

    All i can say is either way we will bring this dictator down. The country must come to a stand still..

    No diplomacy will work as they will not come with a bag full of money..

    With Gayoom NO reform…

  • Mohamed

    This is not the first time some one was beaten up to death.However the regime of Maumoon never take the responsibility of the poor civilians who dies from the brutality.This is a great opportunity to let the Whole World know this piece of Pardaise is not any more peaceful.Hussain Salah was in police custody when he was beaten to death.There is no doubt and there are lot of evidence which could bring go to the justice.The police who did this to poor Solah had no humanity.There should be a reson why the police had to cover up this incident more than one way.If there is any complaints from the detainees we should make sure whether their is any real facts on their complaints.The Human rights committe of Maldives,Please take the responisbility at your Maximum,Do not try to save or hide the reality of the case.

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