Bodufinolhu unrest

Habeus corpus plea lodged to release detained Bodufinolhu expats

  • The plea was lodged at the Criminal Court
  • The expats were released from police custody and transferred under the custody of Maldives Immigration earlier
  • This, the legal team said is in violation of legal mandate

K. Male' 2020 Aug 04 | Tue 16:31 local 1,838

19 expatriate workers were arrested in connection to the Bodufinolhu unrest - police

A habeas corpus plea has been lodged at the Criminal Court, to release the expatriates detained in connection to the Bodufinolhu unrest.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the detained expatiate group’s legal team asserted that it an anti-torture act to detain them under the Maldives Immigration after having released them from the Maldives Police Service (MPS)’s custody.

The legal team stressed that this is a degrading act which is against the Maldives laws and was done with the purpose to remove expatriate workers from the system.

Further, they accused authorities of forcefully attempting to deport expatriates, by transferring them under the custody of Maldives Immigration.

This has been proven by the hindrances facing the detainees’ legal team, in meeting with them, they asserted.

The lawyers strictly condemned the acts of the MPS and Maldives Immigration.

In light of this, the habeas corpus plea was lodged at the Criminal Court on Tuesday, to order the immigration department and the Maldives Correctional Services to release them, immediately.

On Sunday, the expatriate workers in Bodufinolhu island who were arrested following the unrest were released from police custody and transferred under the custody of the immigration office.

19 expatriate workers were arrested following the unrest stemming from the long-drawn-out issue of unpaid wages for expatriate workers on the island being developed as a resort, during which over 200 expatriates secured the island and took 13 Maldivian workers as hostages.

This issue had not risen overnight, the Bodufinolhu expat workers had been protesting peacefully for months before things escalated.

The group of expats that was arrested, were slapped with a 15-day remand and the remand was extended by an additional 15 days.

MPS is also investigating RIX Maldives, the employer of the expats in the development project, over alleged human trafficking violations.

The release of the Bodufinolhu workers comes at a time the Human Rights Watch (HRW), an International NGO, has called on authorities to drop charges and release all those held "for engaging in peaceful protest, and instead to address allegations of human trafficking and other abuses against the island nation’s sizable migrant worker population."

During several such protests rooted to similar issues linked to unpaid wages, over 80 expatriates were arrested in July alone.

Last updated at: 1 month ago | Reviewed by: Simaha Naseem

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