Closed Hearings on Jail Torture Commence in Maafushi Prison

The Ombudsperson’s Office for Transitional Justice (OTJ) has commenced today closed hearings on complaints about human rights violations, inhuman treatment and torture in Maldivian prisons that occurred from 1st January 1953 to 17th November 2018.

The opening ceremony of the closed hearings began with the recitation of Quran by OTJ’s Investigator, Al-Ustaz Majeed Ali. The hearings will continue from 26th February 2023 until 4th March 2023.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Ombudsperson, Al-Ustaz Abdul Salaam Arif said the main objectives of the hearings are to disclose the stories of victims, urge the relevant authorities to seek justice for victims, reveal the truth about past human rights and fundamental freedoms violations sharing and raising public awareness of human rights violations as well as obtaining information on cases investigated by the office. Chief Ombudsperson, Al-Ustaz Abdul Salaam Arif also expressed his gratitude to the Maldives Correctional Service and K. Maafushi Prison for their assistance and cooperation to the closed hearings.

The hearings, which began today, will be conducted in two sessions; morning and afternoon. Statements from two witnesses taken at today’s hearings.

These hearings will examine the extent of systematic deliberate actions at various stages of arrest and detention within the jurisdiction of OTJ, including deprivation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and torture.

Additionally, these hearings will provide the opportunity for the complainants as well as others who have experienced such incidents to participate in the hearings and gather information. The identification of other factors surrounding the issues will also consider compliance with domestic laws, rules and regulations to guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives and to prohibit acts of torture, as well as international treaties to which the country is adhered to.