Crime Governance Human Rights Politics

Imran: Inmates had their hair trimmed, can’t say why MCS denied it

Inmates at Maafushi Prison had their hair trimmed short in addition to being beaten up by prison guards, confirms Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

Imran conducted a visit to Maafushi Prison to question prison officials regarding the incident and personally assess the situation this Saturday morning.

He stopped briefly at the No. 3 Jetty to answer questions by the press upon return to Male’ from his visit to the prison.

In response to a question by ‘Sun’, Imran said that guards, in the past, have trimmed short the hair of inmates as an “emergency measure for disobedience”, and confirmed that the inmates who were forcibly removed from two cells at Maafushi Prison on Thursday had their hair trimmed short.

Maldives Correctional Service, on Friday, denied media reports the inmates had their heads shaved.

When asked for a comment regarding the misleading statement by Maldives Correctional Service, Imran said that he couldn’t say why the agency issued the denial.

“I can’t say why Correctional is denying it if they are in fact denying it. The inmates didn’t have their hair shaved off. But they had their hair trimmed very short,” said Imran.

He said that he firmly believed such measures should not be used to deal with inmates.

‘Sun’ has been able to confirm through reliable sources that inmates at the prison held a strike on Friday alleging delay in medical attention to inmates injured in the beatings.

Imran did not answer questions regarding the strike but cut the press briefing short.

Excessive force was used on inmates in response to an attack on a prison guard carried out by a sole inmate on Thursday.

Families of inmates’ report that prison guards, in addition to shaving the heads of inmates, used pepper spray on their genitals, beat them with batons and employed other forms of torture.

Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a statement in which it said that the Maldivian administration, did not, in any way, condone the excessive use of force by the prison guards.

It said that the Maldivian administration condemned the excessive use of force, and will conduct a thorough investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“….and we assure the beloved Maldivian people that the administration will make necessary reforms to the prison system to prevent such incidents from happening again,” pledged the ministry in its statement.

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