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Murderous NSS rampage at Maafushi jail, prisoner tells
from a Maafushi prisoner
2 Oct 2003
translated by Maldives Culture
Photos of injuries to the body of Hassan Evan Naseem, and casualties after the shootings the following day (below)

This Maafushi prisoner's account of the death of Hassan Evan Naseem on the night before the mass shooting of prisoners that followed on Saturday 20 September, contradicts the version of events being given by Maumoon Gayyoom, the President of Maldives and Commander of the National Security Service.

If this prisoner's account is true, the President lied in his speech to the nation on the night of the rioting in Male', when he said the two incidents at the prison were separate. These incidents were very closely related, according to the prisoner.

The President accused the prisoners of attacking the armoury and forcing the NSS to resort to gunfire. But the prisoner says the order to arm the NSS guards must have been given before the disturbance began, and the prisoner believes his fellow inmates could have been controlled if the NSS had not opened fire.

Later sections from the prisoner's account, not translated here, reveal details of the beatings and torture of prisoners that followed the gunfire, even as the dead and wounded were lying on the sand. After shooting many rounds directly into prisoners, NSS officers handcuffed, beat and tortured any prisoner they could find. Faseeh, the inmate leader, had his fingers chopped off by the NSS. According to the prisoner, torture and beatings continued long after the initial shootings.

The claim made in earlier reports published by this website about the shootings and the riots, claiming the riot in Male' inspired the prisoners at Maafushi to attack their guards, appears to be incorrect. Based on the revelations of this prisoner, it is highly likely news of the shootings at Maafushi just after midday, and the beatings and torture of prisoners during the following hours, was filtering back to Male' before the riots began and helped provoke the disturbances that swept the capital.

Maafushi prisoner's account of events surrounding Evan Naseem's death
I was in jail that day during the incidents at the prison in September and I watched everything that happened with my own eyes.

In the beginning (Friday), some prisoners left their cell block and went to another block, to settle a dispute with someone. They beat up another young prisoner, and then came back to their registered block. At this time, Dhawlah Fafa (a NSS officer) and a force of NSS arrived at the scene, and they called the prisoners out of the block just as they were climbing back in (over a low wall). The prisoners ignored the NSS officers, and Dhawlah Fafa and his men tried to open the cell block door. From inside, Hassan Evan Naseem yelled out to them that the door was locked and couldn't be opened.

According to the rules, the cell block can be only opened by a Corrections warden. After hearing this, Dhawlah Fafa and the NSS force went away quietly. Maybe they obtained a Corrections department permit, but they returned with a Corrections warden at night. After opening the cell block, they began to read out a list of names, and called about 15 people outside. Hassan Evan's name was last on the list, and when he heard his name, he asked why he was being taken outside.

'What is my offence?' he wanted to know. Their reply was that his name was on the list and they said when he left the cell block he would find out what he had done.
Repeatedly, Evan said that he wouldn't go outside and he told the NSS they couldn't take him.

Two NSS officers moved into the block and Evan told them not to touch him. He said he would hit back if they tried. One of the officers grabbed Evan, and Evan hit him three times.

When they saw this, the NSS force of about 70 officers suddenly poured into the cell block, seized Evan and took him outside. The police used a video camera for a short time to record this.

There is a check-point a short distance away from the cell block. It is where prisoners arriving from Male' are processed. Right in front of us, the NSS force took Evan in there and they must have shackled him. We heard the sound of metal restrainers being put on. Then they began to beat him. Evan was just the first prisoner they beat that night.

We heard Evan crying out with pain, 'Mother! Father!' he kept on calling out loudly. Then there was no sound. The NSS took Evan out and brought other prisoners in, and chained them together in a line.

Evan wasn't tied into this line. The NSS officers took Evan to a coconut palm near the new workshop being built by the Corrections department. Part of the workshop is a big sheltered hall. Next to the hall there is a structure made of iron bars.

The NSS officers handcuffed Evan's hands together above his head and wrapped a tarpaulin around his body. They lifted him up with a pulley so his feet just touched the ground. He was beaten and when he stopped making any sound, they threw water over him and resumed beating him again. They kept beating him with a measuring rod and police batons for a long time after he stopped making any sound.

The Corrections warden said Evan was faking and being tricky, so they put fire on various parts of Evan's exposed arms as they continued beating him. They also broke a chair against his head. Evan was probably already dead by this time.

While the NSS were killing Evan, the other prisoners whose names had been called were being tortured and beaten. The NSS took Evan's body away and I don't know who took him to Male', but there would have been people from the Corrections department and some NSS officers aboard the boat.

Next morning (Saturday), a secret phone call informed us that Evan had died. Prisoners in the Warehouse cell block were sad and subdued when they heard the news, but at first they remained silent. Slowly, prisoners' emotions began to boil and they wanted to find out what had happened to the others taken out of the cell block with Evan. They wanted to know where they were, if they were ok, and whether they were still alive. The prisoners remained calm and there was no discussion or planning among them. They stayed quietly in their cells.

At noon, the prisoners refused to leave their cell blocks for lunch, but they were ready for the midday prayer. With loud voices they said the funeral prayer for Evan, so the duty officers would hear their words and understand who they were praying for. The NSS officers realised the prisoners knew of Evan's death.

After the funeral prayer, the prisoners left the praying area and pushed over a small shed made of corrugated iron near the duty officers' tent. Prisoners from all the other cell blocks, including those kept in small single cells, came outside as the news spread and the crowd of prisoners grew.

The police were waiting for them, equipped with new plastic riot shields and batons. There were buildings nearby that the police use for eating and sleeping, and the police began retreating slowly towards that area. Some of the prisoners broke the glass windows of these NSS buildings, and the windows of a van and pickup truck.

An old experienced NSS officer was there with Fusfaru, the Officer Commanding (OC) the prison. The old officer was standing just in front of Fusfaru and he turned to the prisoners, put his hands in the air and told them all to calm down.

He told the prisoners to wait and talk, he said things can only be settled by talking. Some prisoners did stop and calm down, but there were too many prisoners and it was difficult to stop this mob that quickly. The NSS became frightened. Then the prisoners noticed two NSS officers, Appa and Aalim, standing behind Fusfaru.

Appa fired the first shot, a single round up into the air. The second shot was fired directly at the prisoners. I don't know whether it was Aalim or Appa who fired directly at prisoner Faseeh. Two prisoners fell down, Faseeh and Clinton, and they both fell right in front of the NSS building on either side of the entrance door.

All the other prisoners turned back and began to run and the NSS began to fire into their backs, and kept on firing. There was at least one spray of automatic fire. At that stage, prisoners were running for their lives. I did not look back.

When the first shot went off, the prisoners thought it was only rubber bullets, but when they saw Faseeh hit in the leg and Clinton hit in the head and they saw blood, they realised the NSS was using real bullets. There was no plan by the prisoners to attack NSS officers and Corrections wardens. It wasn't a dispute with the Corrections people, it was a problem between the NSS and the prisoners, caused by the killing of Evan.

Regarding the claims that prisoners attacked the armoury, the prisoners were not even aware the armoury existed! Anyone examining the scene of these events will agree, after seeing where the bodies fell, and where the prisoners had been, that the armoury was not the reason why prisoners were shot at by the NSS. The NSS armed themselves with guns, long before the prisoners began protesting.

Between them, Fusfaru the prison chief, and Faseeh the inmates' leader, could have controlled the prisoners. Faseeh wanted to talk to the NSS but before that could happen, Appa fired the gun into the air. In the shooting, some people were hit and they fell. Prisoners face down on the ground, calling out their surrender, were shot where they lay. Some prisoners were shot again by the NSS, even after they were already wounded...

Photos of the tortured body of Hassan Evan Naseem, September 2003
Taken in Male' after his family and their supporters prevented his secret burial, the injuries on the body are consistent with the prisoner's account of Evan's torture by NSS officers at Maafushi prison.

maldives torture injuries

body of hassan Evan naseem and family

legs of torture victim, maldives

NSS treats wounded after the Maafushi shootings, September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

casualties at Maafushi jail Maldives September 2003

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