Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla, on Wednesday, said that all inmates convicted of crimes linked with religious extremism will be moved to a separate prison unit over the next two months.
Imran was summoned to the parliamentary floor for questioning on Wednesday morning.
In response to a question, Imran said that inmates convicted of crimes linked with religious extremism were previously allowed into the general prison population, but that such inmates had now been segregated as much as possible.
“And we are now building a separate prison unit to hold such inmates. The work suffered setbacks due to the COVID-19 situation. Otherwise, we would have finished the unit and moved the inmates a month back - that was the plan,” he said.
Imran said that if the coronavirus situation does not escalate resulting in further restrictions, the unit will be completed and the inmates moved there over the next one-and-a-half months to two months.
“With that, such inmates will be segregated from the rest of the prison population. And we are preparing for rehabilitation programs designed for them. We are developing the programs. We are working on this in collaboration with international partners,” he said.
Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed has voiced concern the prisons have become hubs for international terror organization to spread pro-terror propaganda and recruit people for terrorist activities.
PRISONS OVERCROWDED, STRETCHED 40 PERCENT BEYOND CAPACITY
Imran said on Wednesday that Maldives Correctional Service manages four prisons which hold inmates.
He said the capacity of the prisons is around 1,300, but hold around 1,800 inmates.
“This means an excess of 40 percent beyond the capacity,” said Imran.
Imran said the Home Ministry is working on reducing the prison population, and ensuring that newer detention centers are of better quality.
He said the Home Ministry is collaborating with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to draft a national rehabilitation framework.
Meanwhile, inmates who enrolled in the prison rehab program launched last year have been provided with concessions based on their performance.
“Our whole focus is on reducing the prison population as much as possible, improving the quality of services to inmates, and putting more effort into rehabilitation programs,” said Imran.