The opposition coalition on Tuesday accused the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) of negligence and not providing the inmate who passed away on Monday with proper medical care.
Abdullah Rasheed Mohamed, 51, passed away at the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male shortly after he was brought to the capital to be treated for dysentery.
He was one of the nine protestors who were convicted after the heated May Day rally in 2015. Last year, the Criminal Court had found Mohamed guilty of inciting violence and assaulting law enforcement officers during the major protest.
In a statement that was released by main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on behalf of the deceased’s family, they claimed that Mohamed had been of sound health and had no serious conditions prior to his arrest.
However, after Mohamed was “imprisoned unjustly and stripped of his fundamental rights,” his health had started deteriorating, and despite making several requests to seek medical treatment, MCS had ignored these pleas, his family claimed in the statement.
In MDP’s statement, his family also revealed that Mohamed was only brought to Male after he fainted in his cell and his cellmates had called out to the guards for help.
During a press conference that was held at the opposition coalition’s main hub ‘Kunooz’ in Male, the disputed Madduvari constituency MP Mohamed Ameeth Abdullah revealed that Mohamed was taken for treatment three days after he had complained to the prison guards about his symptoms. MP Ameeth expressed concern over the delay in action for someone who was under state care.
“He had told the guards that he thought his condition was serious on the seventh of this month, but he was only brought to Male on the ninth. So clearly, MCS didn’t exactly oversee his medical treatment in the best that they could have,” MP Ameeth said.
MP Ameeth, who was also in prison after he was arrested in July following protests by the parliamentarians in front of the house of parliament after the military had barred lawmakers from entering, claimed that there are many rights violations taking place in the prison, and that he had first-hand experience in these injustices.
MDP claimed that there have been “suspicious deaths” in prison as of lately and that Mohamed’s death was the seventh such death to occur in prison in the last two years.
The party called for independent international institutions that advocate human rights to investigate the recent deaths in prison, and accused the government of not safeguarding the rights of prisoners.