Man arrested for social media threat to bomb Parliament

Police walk past the Parliament building in Male' City. (File Photo/Sun)

A man who commented on a Facebook livestream of a parliamentary sitting in May declaring that the Parliament needed to be bombed has been arrested.

The Parliament conducted a debate on the targeted terror attack to assassinate Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, when it reconvened for the second session of the year on May 17.

In the middle of the debate, a Facebook user commented of the Parliament’s livestream that the Parliament needed to be bombed. The user said parliamentarians steal from the public, and a place which houses such people should not be allowed to exist.

The comment was immediately reported to the police.

Police confirmed on early Wednesday that they have investigated the case, and arrested a 28-year-old Maldivian male for making the comment.

Police also said they will take threats or attempts to any act of terrorism seriously, and will take all necessary action to avert danger and ensure protection of the people.

Security in and around Parliament was tightened following the social media threat, which came a little over a week after Speaker Nasheed was severely wounded in an IED attack outside his residence.

Incitement to terrorism on social media was criminalized via a 2019 amendment to Counter-Terror Act. The police have warned they will identify people who make such comments and take action.

Counter-Terror Act declares incitement to terrorism, whether directly or indirectly, as a criminal offense. It is punishable by 10-15 years in prison.