Inspector: Force was used by officers in Maafushi prison after duties were obstructed

Security at Maafushi prison. (Sun File Photo)

Inspector of Correctional Services Ahmed Mohamed Fulhu has stated that the corrections officers used force to quell unrest inside Maafushi prison yesterday after being obstructed from carrying out their duties.

In a tweet sent out today, the Inspector noted that he was aware of unrest between corrections officers and inmates in the Maafushi prison since Friday and visited the prison to resolve and investigate the matter yesterday. His visit was on the request of Commission of Prisons Abdulla Munaz.

The inspector stated that he was informed of disorderly conduct by inmates such as throwing food at corrections officers when the officers attended cells.

“I observed the officers searching the cells. When they (Corrections Officers) were obstructed from carrying out their duties, they used force.” said the Inspector of Correctional Services. He also expressed concern that information was shared with media by falsely impersonating him.

A corrections official informed “Sun” today that the unrest that occurred in the prison yesterday originated between two groups in the prison. Corrections officers then attempted to calm the prisoners and used force only when the inmates obstructed the officers from searching their cells.

“We exercised the minimum amount of force. Pepper spray was used to empty a cell after the inmates refused to leave the cell.” said the official who then explained that a video circulating on social media was a video of the inmates being kept for treatment after being pepper-sprayed.

“They (inmates) were first seated on chairs. But when they kicked the chairs away, we had to seat them on the ground” said the official.

Corrections stated yesterday that the unrest and violence were begun by prisoners on remand at the jail. They had raised issues with their prolonged detainment and medical arrangements. The Inspector of Corrections was accompanied by Commissioner of Prisons Abdulla Munaz and ACP Mohamed Asif, who visited the prison yesterday to assess the situation of the remand inmates. Corrections officers had attempted to quell the unrest with dialogue despite the disorderly conduct of the prisoners.