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.