Foiled terror plot: 14 suspects released, one charged

Security services maintain security in the streets of Male' City on May 13, 2021. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

The suspects arrested in 2022 for plotting to carry out what the police described as a “mass casualty attack with explosives”, have been released from custody, with only one of them charged.

The joint counter-terror operation by the security forces in November 2022 led to the arrest of 14 suspects – all local males. 10 of the suspects were arrested from Addu, two were arrested from Male’ City, and two more from K. Guraidhoo.

The police said the suspects had been plotting to carry out “the biggest terror attack in the nation’s history”.

A police spokesperson confirmed Monday that all 14 suspects have been released from custody.

The spokesperson said the police had requested charges against all 14 suspects, but the Prosecutor General’s Office decided against pursing charges against the suspects, except for one, due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Police said they plan on reinvestigating the suspects and requesting charges against them if the police uncover new evidence, as allowed under the Counter-Terror Act.

Article 28 (j) of Counter Terror Act states that a suspect may be charged based on new evidence, even if the prosecution had previously decided against charges in the same case.

Police said last year that the counter-terror operation had been launched based on intel regarding a plot by Islamic State (IS)-sympathizers in Addu to carry out a terror attack. The police later said they had seized evidence in the case, including highly explosive chemicals, but disclosed little detail regarding the case, including the identities of the suspects.