MP Ahmed Mahloof has on Saturday said that transparent government policies and prison regulations are crucial to thwart crime and reform offenders.
Mahloof expressed concern over the recent death of inmates in a press release issued on Saturday, noting that five inmates had died under sketchy circumstances during his imprisonment alone. Mahloof was sentenced to ten months and 24 days in prison for obstruction of justice, in July 2016.
He added that imprisonment is punishment enough, and that there is no reason that inmates should be subject to mental and physical abuse, which he said to be rampant in most prisons.
Mahloof further said that many ill inmates, some with severe mental degradation, are kept from receiving their prescribed medication for months. He also said the food served to inmates is not something most Maldivians would ‘willingly consume’.
While the law prison states that inmates can only be kept in solitary confinement for a month, there are many that are kept for a lot longer, he continued.
Ahmed Adeeb, the former Vice President who was charged with terrorism and reportedly occupied the cell next to the parliamentarian, is kept inside a concrete ‘cave’ and left to cook under the sun, Mahloof also said. Despite their differences, Mahloof condemned the way Adeeb has been treated, accusing the government of neglecting his health.
Mahloof intuited that many inmates go through continual abuse without a word from the Human Rights Commission or the National Integrity Commission because most of them belong to poor families or because they are political prisoners.
He called on President Abdulla Yameen, the Home Minister, and heads of the Maldives Correctional Services to hold themselves accountable, explicitly stating that most prison officers are not at fault and that actions of senior officials sully the name of the entire institution.
The MP also highlighted how most body searches in prison are conducted with no respect for human dignity and that such processes need to be replaced with more humane and modern methods.