MDP: Truth behind fatal shooting in Maafushi Prison remains unknown

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on Saturday, voiced concern over the lack of sufficient investigation to uncover the facts surrounding the fatal shooting which took place at the Maafushi Prison in 2003, during a riot which broke out at the prison after an inmate, Evan Naseem, was beaten to death by prison guards.

Evan Naseem, 19, from M. Asia in Male’, died due to injuries he sustained after he was beaten and tortured by prison guards on September 19, 2003.

The news of his death broke out in Maafushi Prison on September 20, 2003, sparking a riot. National Security Service (NSS) officers at the prison opened fire on inmates, killing three inmates – Abdulla Ameen (M. Binunimaage, Male’), Ahmed Shiyaz (Janavareemaage, G. A. Vilingili), and Ali Aslam (Cinemage, Lh. Naifaru) - and injuring 16 more.

Some of the inmates were shot from behind.

In a statement marking 17 years to the incident, MDP said that the truth behind the fatal shooting which took place following the “heinous crime” of the administration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, remained unclear to date.

MDP said that there hadn’t been any investigation into the person or persons who had issued the order to open fire on inmates, if such an order was issued, and no investigation into open firing on inmates without an order, if no such order had been issued.

“The Maldivian people have the right to the truth,” said MDP in its statement.

MDP said that incident had been one in a string of systemic abuses within prisons by Maumoon’s administration, and had served to bring to light the truth behind the rumors of torture and killing of inmates to the Maldivian people, as well as the rest of the world.

It also forced Maumoon’s administration to roll out significant political reforms, said MDP.

MDP had called for an investigation into the fatal shootings during its previous administration, and had established a three-member committee composed of government ministers to carry out the investigation.

The death of Evan Naseem and the fatal shooting was investigated during Maumoon’s administration by a presidential commission. Charges were pressed against 12 people.

Eight people were sentenced to death for killing Evan Naseem; NSS privates Badhr Mohamed (H. Hiraveri, Male’), Mohamed Shiuneez (Yellow House, S. Feydhoo), Abdulla Ibrahim (Irudheymaage, S. Hulhudhoo), Ibrahim Rameez (Bageechage, N. Holhudhoo), Ahmed Niyaz (Asrafeege, M. Kolhufushi), Shiyam Mufeed (Hiyalee Gulshan, V. Keyodhoo), Mohamed Mansoor (Alamaage, M. Mulah), and Ahmed Riyaz (Iruvaige, Th. Thimarafushi).