On the origin of SOs
by Azra Naseem
An especially trained squad known as Special Operation were at the forefront of the police mutiny that ended in the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on 7 February. Together with Riot Police squads, they have since led violent attacks on protesters and re-introduced into Maldivian society the culture of impunity and violence of the pre-democracy era. Although their abuse of power and violations of human rights have been documented by local and international institutions, there have been no prosecutions or disciplinary actions against them.
Late last year, Nasheed’s Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh, gave evidence to the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) on the events of and surrounding 7 February 2012. Although it was a national inquiry held for the benefit of the public, none of the statements and evidence submitted to CoNI have been made public. A transcript of Faseeh’s evidence, however, was leaked online recently.
He provided members of CoNI with a detailed description of how the SO was created in 2004, as a means of crushing the Maldivian people’s uprising against dictatorship and their agitation for democracy. This is an English language translation of the evidence, reconstructed in narrative style. The only changes made are to style, facts remain as shared by Faseeh: