Opposition coalition: Mohamed Ismail and Razzan were framed

Ex-MP Mohamed Ismail is arrested by police on May 18, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Opposition coalition comprising of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) has stated that PPM’s Council Member, former Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail and PPM’s Council Member Ibrahim Razzan who were arrested in connection to the mob attack on the yoga event held at the national football stadium were framed.

In a statement released regarding the arrests of Mohamed Ismail and Razzan –  the opposition coalition said that both individuals have been arrested and are being kept in custody on false suspicions.

The coalition also stressed that the coalition, nor any of its members had any role in the violence that ensued at the yoga event.

They also described politicizing the mob attack and framing members of the coalition as an unacceptable and unprogressive act.

In their statement – the opposition coalition also said that the arrests of religious scholars, violence and bullying of religious scholars and arresting them in front of their children were unacceptable to the coalition.

They called on the release of all suspects arrested in connection to the cases – and urged a comprehensive investigation of the case in order to hold those guilty, responsible.

The yoga day event, organized by the Indian Cultural Center and the Sports Ministry, had begun at 06:30 am on Tuesday, and was attended by dozens of participants, including foreign ambassadors and diplomats.

A mob of angry protestors had stormed the stadium, and threatened and assaulted some of the participants, and destroyed property. They were carrying flags containing verses from the Shahada.

Six suspects were arrested on Tuesday, and six more on Wednesday.

Police released the identities of the six additional suspects in a statement on Thursday. They are:

  • Adam Nishan, 38, Sosun Villa, L. Maamendhoo
  • Ibrahim Razzan, 32, Orchid Villa, S. Hithadhoo
  • Mohamed Ismail, 48, Yaagoothuge, HA. Hoarafushi
  • Ahmed Nasooh, 26, Asraf Villa, GA. Maamendhoo
  • Abdulla Rifau, 31, Narugis Villa, Th. Thimarafushi
  • Fazloon Mohamed, 33, Naz, Sh. Milandhoo

They were presented before the Criminal Court for their remand hearing on Thursday.

The remand of Fazloon and Nishan – two Islamic scholars - was extended by seven days, Mohamed Ismail’s remand was extended by five days, Razzan’s by five days, and Nasooh’s and Rifau’s by 60 days.

Meanwhile, the six suspects arrested on Tuesday are:

  • Mohamed Nadheem, 43, Venus, K. Thulusdhoo
  • Mohamed Zilyan, 37, Ma. Kanuhura, K. Male’
  • Shaamy Rasheed Idrees, 30, Dhafthar No. 1105, K. Male’
  • Mohamed Mausoom, 40, Happy Side, Th. Madifushi
  • Mohamed Hussain, 47, Greenhouse, HA. Thuraakunu
  • Ameen Ahmed, 35, Lily Park, GDh. Rathafandhoo

They were presented before the Criminal Court for their remand hearing on Wednesday morning.

Mohamed Nadheem, Mohamed Mausoom, Mohamed Hussain and Ameen Ahmed were remanded in custody of police for 60 days, while Mohamed Zilyan and Shaamy Rasheed Idrees were remanded in custody of police for five days.

The mob attack on the yoga event is under investigation by the Serious and Organized Department.

Police said in an earlier statement the case was being investigated as a serious matter, and that preliminary investigative findings established that some of the items used by the mob had come from the office of PPM.

In a TV interview following the incident, Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof said Maldives began celebrating the International Day of Yoga during the administration of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – the leader of PPM. He alleged the disruption of the event was politically motivated, and accused both PPM and Jamiyyath Salaf of involvement in the incident.

Both PPM and Salaf have issued statements denying involvement.