No reason for lack of charges in tourist attack, says Home Minister

Home Minister Imran Abdulla stated that the alleged ringleader of an attack on tourists on January 4, 2020 has been arrested. (Sun File Photo/Muzayyin Nazim)

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has said that sufficient evidence was collected in the case of stabbings targeted to foreigners and tourists in the Maldives in early February.

On February 4, two Chinese nationals and one Australian tourist was left wounded after a knife attack in the suburb of Hulhumale’. Eight were arrested in connection with the matter. However, the Prosecutor General’s Office resent the case due to a lack of evidence for a conviction. 

Speaking in a program of Raajje TV tonight, Home Minister Imran said that the case should have decided in a court.

“I believe that a sufficient investigation was conducted in the case. Evidence was obtained and Police investigated the case to the best of capabilities, I can say.” Said the Minister.

A federal Police officer from Australia had also taken part in the investigation and was satisfied with the evidence collected, said Minister Imran who added that the officer had said that the case was a sure conviction if presented to a court.

The Minister said that he admitted the responsibility of charging the accused was with the Prosecutor General.

“He will decide on his professional opinion. I respect that decision. However, as the Home Minister, based on how the investigation was conducted, I believe that the matter should be finished inside a courtroom.” Said Imran.

The failure to bring forward charges in the case is also under investigation by the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services. Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has said that he did not have a comment for the media regarding the matter since it is under investigation by the Parliamentary Committee.

The accused in the case were released due to a lack of charges against them only to be arrested again on separate crimes.  A ‘Monicon’ order was issued upon the individuals by the High Court after the Home Minister requested such an order. The individuals were deemed to be a threat to the community due to their release. They are currently being monitored with tags for a period of one year by the Police.

A recent amendment to the Anti-Terrorism laws of the country stipulates that cases of terrorism should be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office within 45 days for charges to be brought. Upon a police request, the duration could be extended by 30 days based on the type of case. Charges have to be brought forward within a maximum of 75 days. The prosecution is then to arraign or file the charges with the court within a period of 15 days in such cases.