Nasheed concerned with Home Minister’s comments over tourist's arrest

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed speaking at a ceremony on February 3, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has expressed concern over comments made by the Home Minister regarding the arrest of a tourist in the local tourism hub of Maafushi of Thursday.

The Minister, speaking at the “Raajje Miadhu” program of PSM last night, said that it could not be said that Police officers were grossly wrong in the arrest of the bikini-clad tourist, but admitted that the situation could have been handled better.

Nasheed tweeted today that the use of disproportionate force and the touching of a female by male officers could muddy the good name of the Maldives in the international community and affect the tourism sector.

“The comments saying that a tourist’s arrest on the island of Maafushi was not wrong is something that raises concerns.” read a tweet by Nasheed towards the comments made by the Home Minister.

Commissioner of Police Mohmed Hameed has also stated that the arrest of the female tourist was carried out inappropriately and the matter is under investigation by the Professional Command of Police.

The Commissioner has also publicly apologized for the incident.

Video of the incident went viral on social media and has even garnered the attention of foreign media.

Another video of the incident that was uploaded on social media had gained the support of some members of the public towards police as well. The video showed the tourist repeatedly disobeying the instructions of officers and even attempting to touch an officer in plain clothes.

The Home Minister had said last night that Police would be criticized had they not attended the scene as well.

“So, I do not believe that the decision taken at the time was wrong on such a level,” said Minister Imran.

The Minister did say that the situation could have been handled better but maintained that on a security perspective that the situation was not grossly mishandled.

Police attended the scene after reports were received of the bikini-clad tourist who was intoxicated and in the residential area of the island.

It is prohibited for tourists to visit residential areas in bikini and Police had tried to repeatedly advise the tourist to refrain from such actions before arresting and cuffing her. She was released shortly afterward.

While police are being scrutinized for the incident, there are those members of the public that have maintained that the tourist was warned against such behavior multiple times and was arrested after she began roaming in the island exposed.