Maldives Human Rights minister sacked over anti-police comments

Maldives government sacked its human rights minister after she publicly criticised police for arresting opposition members and accused them of brutally beating her lawmaker husband for allegedly drinking alcohol.

Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed was dismissed as the Gender, Human Rights and Family Minister for "her actions and statements as a minister".

Media Secretary of the President's Office Masood Imad said: "It should not be the way a government Minister must behave".

Dhiyana's husband Abdulla Jabir, also an MP, was among nine opposition leaders, who were arrested last week, on charges of consuming alcohol, which is illegal in the Muslim majority country.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed's main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had charged that the arrests were "politically motivated".

At a press conference Dhiyana and her husband addressed the media jointly and the latter narrated the events of his arrest as he alleged that the country was being run by the police and military.

"They were so violent at first I thought they were some pirates or terrorists, they didn't have badges or identification. Only after hours of brutality did they claim to be police and tell us we were arrested under charges of drug abuse," Jabir said.

"I kept asking why they were acting in such a violent manner, but no one provided a reply," he claimed.

He said that they were handcuffed for close to 12 hours before being transferred to a court.

He said he and another MP "almost died" in the assault.

"I must say now the government is trying to kill off MPs," he charged.

His wife Dhiyana who attended Jabir's press conference "as moral support to (her) husband who has been badly brutalised", spoke vehemently against police brutality against citizens.

"In my career, I have always had to take the side of the police and defend their actions, although I have never found it easy to accept their brutality towards citizens.

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