The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has alleged that the police are attempting to intimidate commission staff members following the start of its investigations into what they maintain is police obstruction of the October 19 presidential election.
“The commission believes that what we are facing now is serious, unprecedented and unjustifiable intimidation from the police. We will continue the investigation, while also ensuring that we continue protecting every one of our team members,” HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoodh has told Minivan News.
Jeehan stated that, after criticising the police for acting outside of their mandate when obstructing the Elections Commissions (EC) efforts to conduct the presidential election on October 19, they have been facing what the commission believes to be attempts by the police to intimidate its staff.
Jeehan said that the police had requested the HRCM provide “complete details” of the staff members who witnessed the police’s actions outside of the EC on the morning of October 19.
“In the history of HRCM, we have never before had such a request, where details of individual staff are asked for in relation to an investigation. This just cannot be done,” Jeehan said.
“We responded, invoking Article 27 of the HRCM Act and informed the police that the commission will not compromise the safety of any of our staff members. We also explained that as this is an ongoing investigation we cannot compromise it by providing detailed information regarding the matter,” she continued.
Article 27 of the HRCM Act has two parts, with part (a) stating that, “No criminal or civil suit shall be filed against the President or Vice- President or a member of the Commission in relation to committing or omitting an act in good faith whilst undertaking responsibilities of the commission or exercising the powers of the Commission or the powers conferred to the Commission by a law”.
Part (b) of the same article says “The Commission can only be questioned or a suit can be filed against the Commission in court regarding a component in a report published by the Commission following an inquiry, should sufficient evidence be available to prove the component is false”.