Gruesome Murder, Estranged Partners, Seal Visitor

Friday, August 12

The Maldives and Malaysia signed an agreement for the mutual recognition of motor vehicle driving licenses issued by both countries.

Friday, August 12

Thursday, August 11

Former president Abdulla Yameen met the press for the first time since the Supreme Court overturned his money laundering conviction in November last year. The opposition leader took questions and spoke at length on a range of topics, including the purported obstacles to implementing death penalty during his administration, conditional support for shifting to a parliamentary system with anti-defection laws to ensure stability, and the role of his former vice president in the theft of US$90 million from state coffers.

He criticised the government’s controversial plans to award 3,000 plots of lands from the manmade islands of Hulhumalé and Gulhifalhu exclusively to registered residents of Malé, which has sparked fierce debates on social media over the ineligibility of migrants to the capital, including about 1,400 people from other islands who are on a special municipal registry (dhaftharu). Non-native residents of Malé should not be excluded from government housing schemes, Yameen asserted.

Thursday, August 11

Actress Maleeha Waheed ‘Mal’ was found not guilty of drug trafficking. The charges were raised against Maleeha and another woman over 15kg of heroin found in a bag when they travelled from Malé to Alif Dhaalu Maamigili in August 2019. But the court noted the lack of the defendants’ fingerprints or belongings in the luggage, which the police had confiscated from the island’s jetty.

Briefing the press after an extraordinary congress of the Maldives Development Alliance, the party’s leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed declared that he would not need a coalition to win the 2023 presidential election. The lawmaker and owner of resort operator Sun Travels has been campaigning as the MDA’s de facto candidate.

Wednesday, August 10

Human Rights Watch condemned charges sought against three men over leaked videos of homosexual relations with a Bangladeshi man. The U.S.-based organisation called for the repeal of provisions in the penal code that criminalise consensual same-sex relations with up to eight years in prison and 100 lashes.

The scandal broke in late June with sex tapes of lawyer Nazim Sattar, former MP ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed and a police officer, all three of whom were arrested and detained for two weeks. They were released on Thursday night after the police sent their cases for prosecution.

The 25-year-old migrant worker, M.D Alamgiri, is suspected of secretly filming liaisons with more than 40 Maldivian men and using the videos as blackmail to extort large sums of money. He was arrested in early July.

Travel bans have since been imposed on at least 18 local men identified from the videos, who reportedly include teachers, an imam, a soldier, a customs officer, a parliament employee, a home ministry staff and an official at the Centre for Quran, many of whom have been sacked or suspended after videos and photos were leaked online.

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives and the Editors Guild of Maldives have expressed concern about widespread media coverage of the videos and their viral circulation on social media, warning of an adverse impact on children, families and the wider society.

A legal framework needs to be introduced to take action against people who disseminate such videos in order to prevent the “complete destruction” of the country’s behavioural norms, Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla tweeted.

Wednesday, August 10

An India-funded project for a three-storey police station was inaugurated on Thulusdhoo island in Kaafu Atoll.

The police warned of a currency exchange scam for the sale of counterfeit dollars through Viber communities and social media platforms. Ten cases have been reported to date since 2021 involving the theft of MVR272,000 (US$17,600).

The Thulusdhoo island council slammed the Environment Protection Agency over an MVR45,000 fine (US$2,900) imposed for dumping garbage into the sea. The EPA did not submit a report as mandated by waste management regulations before slapping the fine, the council contended, stressing the island’s lack of facilities or a waste management centre.

Tuesday, August 9

Testifying as a prosecution witness in former president Abdulla Yameen’s bribery and money laundering trial, former MP Ahmed Nazim described the opposition leader as the chief architect of a corruption scandal in which US$90 million was stolen through the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation. 

Yameen is accused of accepting and laundering a US$1 million bribe from former lawmaker Yousuf Naeem for the no-bid lease of Vaavu Aarah for resort development.

Contrary to Yameen’s denial of any involvement in the MMPRC scandal, Nazim told the court that the president had been fully aware of the embezzlement scheme carried out by his former vice president Ahmed Adeeb. Nazim claimed to have alerted Yameen about then-tourism minister Adeeb’s misappropriation of US$5 million from the Maldives Ports Limited in 2014, half of which was allegedly used to repay loans taken for the 2013 campaign. Yameen had told him that Adeeb was acting on his behalf, Nazim said.

Nazim, formerly a close associate of Yameen, was among several politicians and estranged allies jailed during the previous administration.

Tuesday, August 9

The Maldives Ports Limited launched a ‘Corporate Scholarship’ programme to annually finance the studies of a student from the Top 10 High Achievers of the Higher Secondary Exams. MPL also plans to offer six scholarships in fields such as engineering, port operations, and occupational health and safety this year.

Criminal Court Judge Dheebanaz Fahmy and High Court legal officer Mohamed Saleem took their oaths of office as new High Court judges. They were chosen after a vetting and interview process by the Judicial Service Commission.

Monday, August 8

The United States donated 99,450 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for Covid-19.

Monday, August 8

The Addu City Council urged the public not to feed, prod or take photos with a seal that drifted to the shore of Hithadhoo island. A seal was reportedly last sighted in the southernmost atoll 20 years ago.

Photo Credit: Iujaz Ali

Sunday, August 7

The Maldives government strongly condemned Israeli airstrikes carried out in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. The foreign ministry conveyed condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and expressed concern over the “disproportionate use of force by Israel on unarmed civilians in the occupied territories, including on women and children.”

Sunday, August 7

The economic development ministry plans to regularise about 34,000 undocumented migrant workers from Bangladesh. They were registered under a regularisation programme launched in September 2019 after banning the recruitment of unskilled Bangladeshi workers. The registration drive stalled due to the pandemic.

An estimated 63,000 foreign nationals work in the Maldives illegally out of a migrant worker population of 144,600, predominantly Bangladeshi and Indian men who work in the construction and tourism industries.

Saturday, August 6

Shiaau Mohamed Saeed, a 22-year-old woman from Fuvahmulah, was found brutally murdered in an apartment in Malé close to midnight. According to media reports, her head and limbs were dismembered.

Maldives skating champion Ali Shaahil, 22, was arrested from the crime scene. He was under the influence of drugs at the time and the murder weapon was retrieved along with other evidence, the police revealed at a press briefing. The ninth floor apartment of Henveiru Sheereenvilla was his residence. He did not have a criminal record.

The police declined to provide details about the gruesome murder to respect the wishes of the distraught family. The body was sent to India later in the week to conduct a postmortem.

Shaahil was reportedly taken into custody in a hazmat suit in order to preserve DNA evidence.

Photo Credit: Mihaaru

Saturday, August 6

Three men from Fuvahmulah were found guilty of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Former MP Mohamed Ismail, a leading organiser of opposition activities who was arrested after protesters disrupted an International Yoga Day event on June 21, was released from custody with a travel ban.  

Sheikh Adam Nishan, a cleric who was accused of inciting the mob that stormed the national stadium, was released a day later. Four other protesters were released on Tuesday.

Of the 21 people arrested in connection with the incident, 10 have now been released. But as four additional suspects were arrested in July, 15 remain in custody. They could face charges of terrorism, criminal trespassing, assault and destruction of property.

Photos showed Mohamed Ismail taking out the flags used by the protesters from the Progressive Party of Maldives office. 

Photo Credit: