Former Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail, who was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in organizing the ‘India Out’ movement, has been released from police custody.
Police had also arrested PPM activist Ali Naseem (Thakaney) on Wednesday. They are accused of involvement in expanding and recruiting more people for the ‘India Out’ movement, a political campaign led by the opposition to protest against Indian military presence in Maldives.
They were presented before the Criminal Court for their remand hearing on Thursday.
The state asked the court to extend Mohamed Ismail’s remand by 15 days. However, the court decided against granting an extension, and ordered his release, after his defense attorney pointed out the police failed to show the arrest warrant when they arrested him.
Though Mohamed Ismail was released, the court granted a five-day extension to Thakaney’s remand.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih issued a decree banning the ‘India Out’ movement on April 21, deeming it a threat to national security.
All state institutions have been instructed to enforce the decree.
However, the opposition continued to put up banners and graffiti the walls of buildings with slogans linked to the movement.
President Solih said in his decree that the ‘India Out’ movement was a deliberate attempt to hinder the longstanding relations between Maldives and India, and international efforts to maintain security in the region, and that incitement to hatred against a specific country put Maldives at risk of loss of peace and stability, huge economic and social burden, and isolation in the international arena.
PPM has filed a lawsuit over the decree, calling the move an infringement on the right to freedom of expression.