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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                      

The Maldives

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.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Maldives

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 28 July 2021]


The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) reported receiving 28 complaints of torture, 17 accusing the Maldives Police Service (MPS), 10 accusing the Maldives Corrections Service (MCS) and one accusing employees of state run Kudakudhinge Hiya children’s home, but none were forwarded for prosecution and some investigations were closed due to lack of evidence. In November 2019 the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture expressed concern regarding “near complete impunity” for officials accused of torture since 2013 and noted the PGO routinely dismissed torture cases citing lack of evidence indicating “either a grave systemic shortcoming in the investigative mechanisms put in place or a complete lack of political will to hold officials accountable.”


Prisons were overcrowded in some cases and lacked adequate sanitary conditions and medical care, but they generally met most international standards.


Pretrial Detention: The MCS reported 258 pretrial or remand detainees were held in their facilities as of September, with some held for several years without a conviction.

Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Maldives

Committee against Torture, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR, 27 November 2018

[accessed 8 December 2018]

IMPUNITY FOR TORTURE -- The Committee  appreciates  the  commitment  expressed  by  the  new  Government  to eliminate the gap between the State party’s legislation prohibiting torture and its application in practice. The Committee reiterates its concern that there has so far been only one proven case of torture or ill - treatment by an officer of the Maldives Police Service, which did not result in the perpetrator’s imprisonment, and that out of the 275 cases of alleged torture reported to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives since the enactment of the Anti-Torture  Act, only 14 cases are  presently  under investigation. It is seriously concerned that the  low  number  of  complaints  and  cases  investigated  is  due  in  part  to the  reluctance  to cooperate of the authorities, in particular the police, with the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and with the National Integrity Commission. (arts. 1, 2, 4 and 16).

Committee Against Torture Reviews The Initial Report of Maldives

United Nations Office at Geneva UNOG, 28 November 2018

[accessed 1 December 2018]

QUESTIONS BY COUNTRY CO-RAPPORTEURS -- The Committee’s most serious concern in Maldives was impunity for torture.  Since the Anti-Torture Law had come into force, there had been 223 torture allegations, mostly against police officers and prison correction officers, but there had been no convictions.  What measures would be taken to address this accountability gap between the investigations by the Human Rights Commission and the State prosecution?

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.

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

2009 Edition

[accessed 5 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

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.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


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]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

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

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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>]