The police have summoned and interrogated the editor of newspaper Mihaaru over two articles critical of the Maldives criminal justice system.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that Ismail Naseer was questioned on Monday night but refused to provide any details.
“We have no comment on the nature of the case involved,” she said.
Mohamed Hamdhoon, a spokesman for Mihaaru, told the Maldives Independent that Naseer was summoned after the criminal court and the Department of Judicial Administration filed complaints about two recent articles.
“Police informed him that they had not started any investigations yet, but was checking on the complaint. They questioned about two articles in the paper and about some comments made by the public on these two articles,” he said.
The nature of the investigation is unclear as the police lack the jurisdiction to investigate complaints against media outlets for defamatory or slanderous content.
The 2016 anti-defamation law authorises the Maldives Media Council, comprised of members elected by journalists, to take action against print and online media.
“Ismail asked police why they are investigating this complaint as it has to be investigated by the media council. They said that they were looking into how the investigation can be carried out,” Hamdhoon said.
Hamdhoon said that the police also sought to question the two journalists who wrote one of the articles, “but they weren’t able to because they are out of the country at the moment.”
The first article, titled ‘Allegations of mistreating detainees: What is the truth,’ was published on March 10 and examined allegations of negligence and mistreatment of inmates and detainees under the custody of the Maldives Correctional Services and the Maldives Police Service.
The second article, published on March 19, was about stalled trials and families of victims awaiting justice while defendants accused of serious crimes are detained for years.
In some cases, defendants have been locked up for up to six years while their trials dragged on at the criminal court, the paper reported.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent