Maldives police raid media, NGO offices over Al Jazeera documentary

Maldivian police raided a local media office and a non-governmental organization after a documentary alleged President Abdulla Yameen and his administration engaged in large-scale corruption, officials said Thursday.

The Wednesday raids on media organization Maldives Independent and the Maldives Democracy Network, a rights-focused NGO, were looking for evidence to link either party with an investigative documentary aired hours earlier by broadcaster Al Jazeera.

There were no reports of the raids turning up evidence to implicate anyone, and no arrests have been made.

The documentary - which claims to have collected information from sources including emails, text messages and interviews - alleges that Yameen and his government were involved in bribery, embezzlement and money laundering.

The raids followed a warning from the Maldives Broadcasting Commission that any persons disseminating the documentary's allegations would be liable for defamation. The Maldivian government last month passed laws which make defamation a civil and criminal offense.

The government claimed that people interviewed in the Al Jazeera report were "suspects" in corruption investigations.

"The Maldives government would request that all evidence obtained by Al Jazeera be handed to the Maldives Police Services or the Anti-Corruption Commission so as to assist it with their own investigations," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The government has faced a political crisis since former President Mohamed Nasheed was jailed in 2015 for 13 years for abuse of power. He has since been granted asylum in the Britain.

Last update: Thu, 08/09/2016 - 13:04
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