Family of man who died in police custody plead to have body released for burial

Abdulla Rasheed, 43.

The police have refused to return the body of the suspect in a drug case who died in police custody Tuesday despite repeated pleas, state his family.

Abdulla Rasheed, 43, was arrested in a counter-drug operation from a café near the harbor of GDh. Hoadedhdhoo at approximately 02:15 pm Tuesday. The police hired a private speedboat to transport him to another island. He died en route.

According to the family, Abdulla had repeatedly complained of chest pains when the police had him board the boat, and the officers there dismissed it as an act and denied him medical treatment.

Police have decided to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Abdulla’s body was transported to Male’ City on Tuesday, and has been stored at the Galolhu Mortuary ever since.

Abdulla’s younger sister, Mizada Mohamed told Sun the family does not wish to have an autopsy done. She said the family met with senior officials and pleaded them to have Abdulla’s body released so they can bury him.

“They want to do whatever they want even after his death,” she said.

“When we ask to claim the body, they have sometimes responded very harshly. They said they’d do what they want. That they have the power. That they can perform the autopsy if they want.”

Mizada said that the police are asking the family members gathered outside the Gaolhu Mortuary to leave the area.

She said the family has lodged complaints with the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) and other relevant authorities over the refusal to release the body.

Abdulla, who was involved in the sea cucumber business, had lived in Hoadedhdhoo alone. His wife and four children – three girls and one boy - reside in Male’ City.

The police transported Abdulla’s body to Male’ on Tuesday night, and have announced plans to conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Police said they have shared the incident with the National Integrity Commission and the HRCM.

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has promised to take action if the police are found to have been negligent in the case.