Yoga Day violence: Mohamed Ismail’s remand extended again, this time by 30 days

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

The remand of Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) Council Member and former Parliamentarian Mohamed Ismail who was arrested in connection to the mob attack on the event held at National Stadium on June 21, in celebration of International Day of Yoga.

Criminal Court has extended Mohamed Ismail’s remand by 30 days. He was initially remanded in custody for seven days.

The yoga day event, organized by the Indian Cultural Center and the Sports Ministry, had begun at 06:30 am on June 21, and was attended by dozens of participants, including foreign ambassadors and diplomats.

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

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.

A total of 21 arrests were made in connection to this case including two religious scholars. Whilst some of them have been – some have been remanded in custody for two months.

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.