South Asia

Arrested VP a threat to national security: Yameen

In a televised speech on Sunday, President Abdullah Yameen of the Maldives said that the arrested Vice-President, Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, is a “national security threat”.

The arrest was necessary to ensure that Mr. Adheeb would not influence the police investigation into his alleged role behind the boat-blast of September 28 that targeted the President and his family, Mr. Yameen said.

The President, who belongs to the important political dynasty of the Gayooms, accused Mr. Adheeb of plotting to dislodge him and said that he had not followed the desired equidistance from the police and the military.

The investigation into the blast suffered due to the network between the police and the Vice-President, said Mr. Yameen. “I refuse to believe that police intelligence would have failed to pick up on something of this magnitude,” he said, indicating that the blast targeting him could not have taken place without the police having advance information about it.

Mr. Yameen revealed that since taking charge last July, Mr. Adheeb had managed to appoint an intelligence chief of his choice and had acquired greater influence in matters of the state. Meanwhile, Maldivian Police Service has conducted raids into various properties of Vice-President Adheeb, and has claimed that bomb making materials have been discovered.

Sources have told The Hindu that the materials themselves are not sufficient to connect the Vice-President to the plot to bomb the Presidential boat.

“The material discovered so far is scattered and can be turned into a bomb when assembled. More investigation will reveal the real extent of the seriousness of the charges of ‘high treason’ labelled by the President against the arrested Vice-President,” said Hasan Zahir, a prominent journalist of Male.

Rights groups concerned

The speech has raised fears among human rights groups over a fair trial for Mr. Adheeb. In his defence, Mr. Adheeb has pledged loyalty to the Maldives and refuted the charges.

However, Maldives Police Service’s Media Office has claimed that the police will not allow any political interference in the investigation.

Abbas Faiz, an international researcher on the Maldives from Amnesty International, has painted a dark picture of the situation around the arrest.

“The Maldivians are deprived of correct information of what exactly is going on. The real issues on the ground are not the information being given out by the official sources. It is possible that the Vice-President and the President are both pawns in the hands of more powerful set of people who perhaps want to clamp down on the civil rights in the Maldives.”

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 8:59:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/arrested-vp-a-threat-to-national-security-yameen/article7803059.ece

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