President Nasheed’s private home was searched by the Maldives Police Services under court warrant on 26 August 2015. Below are details of the search
- A 13 man strong Police team arrived at President Nasheed’s private residence at approximately 9:40pm on 26 August. They presented a warrant issued earlier that afternoon at 4pm by the Criminal Court which authorised them access to the CCTV footage recorded at the residence (M. Yaagoothge) in connection to the Maldives Correctional Services document – which the Correctional Service claims is fraudulent – commuting President Nasheed’s 13 year jail sentence to house arrest. President Nasheed’s wife, Madam Laila and her lawyers accepted the warrant and allowed the Police access to the CCTV footage.
- At approximately 11pm, the Police team in the house produced another warrant, also issued at 4pm that afternoon, allowing them to search the premises for evidence related to the ‘forged document’. They stated that they were looking for the original document commuting President Nasheed’s sentence to house arrest. Madam Laila informed them that she had sent the document abroad for forensic analysis and that she was willing to sign a statement to that effect. The Police still maintained they wanted to search the residence.
- In the presence of Madam Laila and her lawyers, the Police began searching their 4th floor apartment. The apartment is occupied by Madam Laila and her two daughters, aged 18 and 13 and their maid. The warrant the Police used to conduct the search limited them to stop the search at midnight. They then stated that they would like to continue the search for which they were in the process of getting another warrant. The Police stayed inside the apartment, with Madam Laila’s permission, until the third warrant arrived. The lawyers queried as to how the Police were assured of this new extended warrant.
- The third search warrant was issued at 0015 on 27 August by the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed. The Police carried out an search of the apartment, waking up President Nasheed’s youngest daughter, combing through President Nasheed, Madam Laila and their children’s personal objects, documents, books and even the fish tank. They concluded their search at approximately 1am and stated that they would go back down to access the CCTV footage. Once downstairs, the Police stated that they would be taking the hard disk of the CCTV system in M. Yaagoothge. As this was not permitted under the warrant the Police held as it had expired at 12 am, the lawyers asked the Police to leave the premises. The Police refused to leave despite repeated requests for them to obtain another warrant and reminders that they were now on the premises without permission from the owner or a legal warrant.
- At 2:30am the Police search team at the house then called Special Operation officers and asked to enter the house and remove media personnel who were on the premises with the permission of Madam Laila. The Special Operation officers did not have a warrant to enter the house, but they entered the house on two occasions forcibly removing media personnel. The entrance of the residence was blocked and excessive force was used to restrain and bar media from the house although Madam Laila reiterated to the officers that media had her permission to enter her house. She also requested the officers to remove the Police search team who did not have a warrant to be on the premises.
- From approximately 1:15-3am the Police search team were in M. Yaagoothuge unlawfully. At 3.15 a fourth court warrant was produced, also signed by Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, to obtain the CCTV hardware. The Police search team concluded their work and left President Nasheed’s residence at 4am.
- Although the police has claimed that the President Nasheed’s family did not cooperate with the search, the forensic team was given all access and cooperation from the family and lawyers. However the police team was asked to leave immediately after they concluded the search and they no longer had a warrant to remain in the premises.
- Madam Laila Ali has received summons for questioning by the Maldives Police Service on 28 August at 8:30pm.