Yoga Day unrest: Investigation period extended

The investigation periods for those arrested in relation to the International Yoga Day unrest have been extended.

On June 21, the Youth Ministry and the Indian Embassy in the Maldives jointly organized an event to celebrate Yoga Day at the stadium. The event was held despite religious scholars advising against it, as yoga is considered impermissible by the majority of scholars. While the event was ongoing, a group stormed the stadium and caused unrest at the venue. Twenty-one people, including two religious scholars, were arrested in the days that followed.

While the investigation into the suspects is ongoing, the police are investigating the cases under the Penal Code, the Terrorism Act, and the Intimidation and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Instruments Act.

According to the Terrorism Act, the investigation into an arrestee must be completed and sent to the Prosecutor General's Office for charging within 45 days from the date of arrest. However, the Intimidation and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Instruments Act does not provide for such a deadline. As per the act, the prosecutor must prosecute cases within 15 days of arrest.

If the police want to extend the investigation period under the Terrorism Act, they must apply to the Prosecutor General. Media official from the Prosecutor General's Office and Public Prosecutor Ahmed Shafiu confirmed that the investigation period for the arrestees had been extended as per police request.

Two religious scholars, Adam Nishan and Fazloon Mohamed, and former MP Mohamed Ismail, were among those arrested in connection with the yoga unrest. However, the three have now been released.