Torture in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Maldives]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                              

The Maldives

In late December 2004, a major tsunami left more than 100 dead, 12,000 displaced, and property damage exceeding $300 million. As a result of the tsunami, the GDP contracted by about 4.6% in 2005.

Government spending on social needs, subsidies, and civil servant salaries have created a large budget deficit and inflation has picked up sharply, reaching nearly 13% in October 2008 due to high oil and food prices. Diversifying beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finance, and increasing employment are the major challenges facing the government.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Maldives

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Maldives.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Torture victims require redress, thwarted by institutionalised impunity

Leah Malone, Minivan News, 14 July 2013

[accessed 15 Aug  2013]

[accessed 28 August 2016]

“It is quite worrying that we keep hearing about accounts of torture in custody. These recent accounts are an indication of the consistence and continuing abuse in custody,” Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)’s Executive Director HumaidaHumeyAbdulghafoor told Minivan News yesterday (July 13).

“There is systemic and systematic abuse of detainees [in the Maldives], therefore the practice of torture is unlikely to just disappear over a short period of time,” she emphasised.

“Many families and victims are afraid and not willing to talk or report these violations because they feel intimidated [by the state] given the risks of revictimization and possible harassment,” she continued.

Torture and ill-treatment of detainees was often inflicted outside the prison buildings, and guards appear to have been given free range to use whatever methods they choose, including: beatings, burning, being tied to palm trees, the use of high-pressure hoses, the use of stocks and other painful restraints as well as suspension, near drowning, being restrained and covered in sugar water to attract ants, subjection to noise and sleep deprivation, sexual abuse and sexual humiliation, etc., the report found.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 29 Jan 2014]


Detainees were tortured upon arrest and on their way to police centres. Beatings, pepper-spraying the eyes and mouth, denial of drinking water and, in Addu, incarceration in dog cages, were all common methods used.


Throughout the year, security forces frequently attacked peaceful demonstrators, including MPs, journalists and bystanders, in the capital Malé or in Addu, both MDP strongholds. Officers clubbed them, kicked them and pepper-sprayed them directly in the eyes. Around the time of Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation, from 7 to 9 February, police targeted senior MDP members for attack and tracked down and assaulted injured protesters in hospitals.

On 7 February, security forces attacked MP Ahmed Esa, beating him particularly on the head with metal rods and batons.

On 29 May, Mana Haleem, whose husband was a former minister in Mohamed Nasheed’s cabinet, was on her way home when police stopped her. She had been walking through Majeedee Magu Street where an opposition rally was taking place. Police repeatedly beat her with truncheons on the arms, back and hips before taking her into custody.


Serious failings in the justice system entrenched impunity. These included the absence of codified laws capable of providing justice equally to all and the appointment of judges who lacked formal training in law without serious scrutiny of their legal qualifications. Throughout the year, authorities were accused of political bias for fast-tracking the prosecution of opposition supporters accused of criminal behaviour during rallies while failing to prosecute police and others suspected of committing human rights abuses during the same protests.

Human Rights Reports » 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 25, 2009

[accessed 5 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibited such practices, although there were reports of mistreatment of persons by security forces.

In April the Maldivian Detainee Network (MDN) reported that police beat six prisoners in Dhoonidhoo detention center after their arrest during a crackdown on gang violence. A subsequent hunger strike by inmates reportedly led to further police abuse.

In May the mother of one of the Dhoonidhoo detainees filed a complaint with the HRCM alleging her son was beaten while in custody. The detainee, Ahmed Simhan, had turned himself into police in Male in February in connection with an investigation into gang-related violence that had resulted in the death of a gang member

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 4   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 5 February 2013]

Prison conditions remain abysmal. Following the first independent inspection, local NGOs reported in November 2008 that inmates were regularly tortured or beaten and that women were sexually abused by guards in the country’s largest jail. The Nasheed administration initiated efforts to reform and retrain police forces. While the Gayoom government was known to detain political prisoners, the new constitution bans arbitrary arrest, torture, and prolonged detention without adequate judicial review. It also requires compensation for those detained without legal justification.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Maldives",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Maldives]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Maldives]  [other countries]