Nasheed: Prisons are fortresses of recruitment for extremists

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Speaker of the Parliament Nasheed has described prisons across the country as fortresses for extremists to radicalize and recruit people for wars waged abroad.

Nasheed’s statements were seemingly directed at the Maldivians who have traveled for wars in Afghanistan and Syria. Some Maldivians have even died in battles of these wars. The National Counter-Terrorism Center revealed that the number of Maldivians that traveled to take part in wars abroad was around 60.

A Maldivian man was recently arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison for being a member of the Islamic State group. The Maldivian named as Ali Shafiu from H. Moonlight was arrested in Afghanistan.

Nasheed said that prisons were one of the places where recruitment was carried out the most.

“I want to note that prisons in the Maldives have become fortresses of recruitment for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda,” said Nasheed. He also noted that these prisons were used to run drugs and narcotics operations as well.

Overcrowded jails were also pointed out by Nasheed as a pressing issue.

“I wouldn’t need an expert to explain this to me, having spent a good part of my life in jail,” said Nasheed.

He also noted that he had received letters of denied paroles from several inmates, and stated that these letters have now been sent to the parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender. The response by the committee was a decision to take initiative in amending the parole rules of the country to solve the issue of denied paroles for inmates serving long sentences for relatively small crimes.