COLOMBO – The police in Maldives asked the country’s media on Monday not to report information not verified by the police as it could hinder the investigation into an alleged coup that has led the government to arrest the Supreme Court chief justice and several opposition leaders.
“Maldives Police Service appeals to all citizens to come forward with any information regarding this case and requests the media not to spread false information, and information not verified by the Police, that could hinder the investigation,” the police said in a statement issued on Monday.
In the statement, the police listed the names of those arrested after a Supreme Court ruling on Feb. 1 ordering the retrial of nine opposition leaders along with their release, as well as the reinstatement of 12 opposition lawmakers.
President Abdulla Yameen’s government initially said it would abide by the order but subsequently decided to disregard the ruling, declare a state of emergency and claimed it had thwarted a coup attempt by former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, both under custody at the moment.
Saeed and another Supreme Court judge, Ali Hameed, were suspended from their duties last week by the Judicial Service Commission.
Maldives television channel, Raajje TV, suspended its regular broadcasts on Thursday and went off air for 56 hours “following multiple threats, & intimidation from the security services.”
Raajje said the Maldives Broadcasting Commission had been taken over by the armed forces and had issued “warnings of action against the media” in the name of protecting “national security.”
In its statement, the police also said it had found large sums of money with Hameed and Judicial Administrator Hassan Saeed Hussain, who is also under arrest, which allegedly proved the charges against them of an attempted coup.
So far, 30 people have been questioned and eight people arrested, according to the police statement.