Abdulla’s death: Family appeals to police to revise NIC’s decision

Family of Abdulla Rasheed, 43, who died whilst in police custody plead for the handover of his body in front of Galolhu Mortuary. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

The family of the man who died whilst in police custody has appealed to Maldives Police Service, requesting a revision of decision made by National Integrity Commission (NIC) to conduct a postmortem of the deceased.

Abdulla Rasheed, 43, was arrested in a counter-drug operation from a café near the harbor of GDh. Hoadedhdhoo at approximately 02:15 pm Tuesday. The police hired a private speedboat to transport him to another island. He died en route.

According to the family and eyewitnesses Abdulla had repeatedly complained of chest pains when the police had him board the boat, and the officers there dismissed it as an act and denied him medical treatment.

A letter sent by the legal representative of Abdulla’s family addressed to Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed read that the cause of Abdulla’s death was very clear, from the moment the police had arrested him – backing the statement with reasoning.

The first reason detailed in this regard is Abdulla having complained to officers regarding unusual chest pains and breathing difficulties, requesting urgent medical attention. The letter explained the second reason as the fact that a reasonable person could have attributed these symptoms to ones a person could have before a heart attack.

“The third reason behind his death is denied medical treatment following chest pain, even after the constituency’s parliamentary representative, council’s vice president and health centre’s manager who had requested the same,” the letter read.

The letter stressed that in light of the circumstances surrounding the case - it is clear that Abdulla’s death was caused by a heart attack. It also went on to state that the actions of police, leaving him to die as he suffered through severe chest pain, constituted to an inhuman act under the confinements of Anti-Torture Act.

It was also noted that modern medicine practices can prove negligence in saving his life, if he had been facilitated access to medical care when requested.

Allegations were made in the letter that it was likely that Abdulla had died after suffering a heart attack, as a result of denying and delaying treatment.

“A legal perspective show that if a person’s death is a result of another person’s negligence, police can deem the action as criminal offense and launch an investigation as per Article 12 of the Penal Code,” the letter also read.

The letter stressed that the cause of Abdulla’s death was evidently clear from the testimonies of witnesses and doctor’s death certificate. The investigation into Abdulla’s death is led by the National Integrity Commission (NIC).

In a statement last night, NIC confirmed its decision to conduct a postmortem on the body of late Abdulla.

“In light of how important it is to ensure justice is reached in this case, we inform of our decision to conduct a postmortem on the body of late Abdulla Rasheed,” the statement read.

Responding to NIC’s statement, the letter stated that no suspicions regarding Abdulla’s death has come to light except for police negligence.

Emphasizing that Abdulla’s family objects to the postmortem – it was requested in the letter that the contrary decision by both NIC, and Police be revised. Cooperation from the police was also requested in handover of his body to the family, to perform last rites, and bury him.

Breaking silence three days after Abdulla’s death, CP Hameed, via a tweet, on Friday morning, stated that full cooperation will be rendered for the probe to uncover any possible negligence by the police.