Home Minister: Corrections was not negligent in death of Male’ Prison inmate

Home Minister Imran Abdulla responds to questions at the Parliament on October 11, 2021. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Home Minister Imran Abdulla states Maldives Correctional Service was not negligent in the death of a suspect who had been detained at the Male’ Prison pending the outcome of his trial. 

Ismail Shabeen, 46, M. Malas, K. Male’, had been charged with abuse, possession and trafficking of narcotics and had been detained at the Male’ Prison pending the outcome of his trial. Shabeen, a known diabetic, died shortly after he was taken to Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) on October 5, after he suffered respiratory difficulties. 

Imran was questioned regarding the death at the Parliament on Monday morning. 

Imran said that the Inspector of Corrections conducts an independent review in response to cases involving death of inmates, and a further investigation in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM).  

He said that the report produced by the Inspector of Corrections and HRCM is different from the report by Maldives Correctional Service. 

Imran said that the findings of the investigation do not show the death involved negligence from any party involved. 

“I have looked into it. There’s no record this resulted from the slightest negligence, failure to fulfil responsibilities, or that anyone should be held responsible,” he said. 

Imran said that the Home Ministry checks to ensure inmates receive medical treatment, but death due to natural causes is inevitable. 

He said that in some investigations involving complaints of withholding medical treatment, authorities found inmates had been provided access to medical consultations more than they needed. 

“In our latest investigation into a recently released inmate who complained of being denied medical consultations, we found he was taken to the doctor 40 times over the course of a single year. I don’t think even we ourselves, the people outside [of prison], go to the doctor that frequently,” he said. 

Imran said that in the case of Shabeen, authorities confirmed that he was provided access to medical consultations and that the recommendations of the doctors were followed. 

Shabeen had requested to be transferred to home confinement citing poor health. In a letter to the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, his lawyer said Shabeen was not being provided access to medical health care he required. 

The lawyer wrote the Shabeen had a latent TB infection and suffered from several mental health conditions – none of which was being properly treated.