Seven officers suspended over rough arrest; criminal investigation launched

Maldives Police Service have revealed that seven officers who used excessive force during a home search have been suspended.

In a statement released on Monday, the police revealed a special team has been established to conduct a criminal investigation into the incident.

During the home search last week at M. Ujaalaa, a Bangladeshi national was arrested at the premise with drugs. A 26-year old local man, who attempted to flee after escaping through a window was also apprehended on the street, informed the police. During the operation, approximately 461 grams of substances suspected to be drugs were found in the residence.

A video that showed the Bangladeshi man being beaten up in the process of having him arrested circulated on social media following the operation, after which the Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed ordered the 'Professional Standards Command' to investigate the incident as the actions of the arresting officers violated the code of ethics and code of conduct of the police, read the statement.

Confirming that the seven officers involved in the incident have now been suspended, the Commissioner of Police has requested the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the National Integrity Commission to further look into the case, said the statement. A special team has been tasked with pursuing a criminal investigation into the matter, they added.

The police urged the public to refrain from threatening and posting personal information and pictures of officers who are alleged to be the offenders, and requested the public not to circulate incorrect information.

While the two suspects who were arrested in the operation have received medical attention, the pictures circulating on social media that are said to be photographs of the injuries inflicted on the suspects by the police are not related to the case in question, the statement further said.

The police assured that steps are being taken to ensure that the code of ethic and the code of conduct of the police are not transgressed in future. The police also assured that the authority would continue to fight in the war against drugs.