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Ibrahim Luthfee's letter to President Gayyoom 1999
Ibrahim Luthfee
translated by Maldives Culture editors

Ibrahim Moosa Luthfee
P.O. Box 20188
Phone: 772002

To the noble President al-usthaz Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom,
Greetings and I would like say,

I am not particularly competent in the law of this country. But I was confident that when the constitution of Maldives was reformed over a seventeen year period, or more than three terms of the Peoples' Majlis, that constitution would protect the people's rights perfectly. The purpose of a law is the establishment of justice and fairness in a society. Law is the establishment of a system of principles which provides a satisfactory relationship between the people and the government, and the protection of business dealings between individuals. In the absence of a valid legal system, or failure to enforce the existing law, the justice system is destroyed. Power and influence buy everything. When this happens, there is virtually no law.

The way I am being treated is shocking. The matter concerns an allegation made by my father-in-law and the police, that I have breached a family agreement regarding leasing of a building. The day I was sent to prison without a court sentence over a civil matter, I wondered about the extent that our constitution protected our rights. I realised that the constitution, after seventeen years of reformation, did not provide any protection to a person punished in the name of the government, regardless of the torment the person is subjected to.

At the same time, I came to the sad realisation that there was no legal means of being compensated for the physical, psychological and financial damages caused by this punishment. Regarding the civil matter already mentioned, when the case did not go according to the wishes of the police, they developed a personal grudge against me. When I became a kicking ball for the police, I did not find any evidence of a good constitutional legal system to protect the rights of the people.

maldives president maumoon abdul gayyoom
President Maumoon Gayyoom in his office
Photo:President's Office

When things reached this stage, I wrote a letter to you describing what happened. But there was no end to these cruel acts. So I requested an appointment with you, but I was unable to get an appointment.

I also wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner Brigadier Adam Zahir, requesting he arrange a third party to investigate my case because the police had created it, and were conducting a punishing investigation in violation of my rights. When there was no reply to my letter, I requested an appointment but there was no response. Once again, I was sent to prison, and then again. I have received every kind of torment a person could receive in a place where there is not a fragment of justice and fairness.

The policeman who sent me to prison, wrote what he liked and kept me locked up as long as he wanted. This was the truth of what actually happens. The verdict given at the police desk is guaranteed to be carried out by the same policeman who makes the ruling. There is no doubt that this person has the power and the authority to act in this way without any discussion with anybody else. The facts are clear.

Hence, I wonder whether the Peoples' Majlis really took over seventeen years to shape the constitution into its present weak form. Or is it that I am yet to see the chapter of this constitution dealing with the protection of my rights? Or is it that the police are granted the power and discretion to arrest and imprison people for as long as they please, in the name of an investigation without a court sentence? In that case, I believe that unless a leader such as Umar bin Khattab is leading the country, justice and fairness cannot be established here. This is a rational idea, and the whole world would agree. Keeping people in captivity without a court sentence for as long as the police please, has become very common practice in Maldives. 'When the prison was burnt, the laws and regulations of Maldives were burnt as well.' This police comment is very clear in meaning.

Honourable President, I have been imprisoned five times in two years for no valid reason. It is remarkable that this investigation could not be carried out without imprisonment. Or is it that the case must to be carried out according to the wishes of the complainant? A person under investigation should only be kept in captivity if that investigation cannot be carried out effectively when the accused is free. However, recently the police take people into captivity when they feel like it, and keep the person for as long as they like. When they feel like it, they put people under house arrest. I was in shock, not knowing the reason for my imprisonment. The police are unable to accept they must take me to court if I had committed an offence, and get me sentenced there. I wonder what kind of pleasure they get by imprisoning me so frequently. Since this is my situation, I wonder whether these procedures are lawful.

When my father-in-law did not succeed in any of the matters he filed with the police and the court cases regarding the legal termination of the building agreement between us, the person who took the matter into his own hands was the honourable Member for Dhaalu Atoll, who is my brother-in-law Ismail Zahir, Finihiyaage house, Kudahuvadhoo island, Dhaalu atoll, resident in Male' at Agi house, Henveiru ward.

The first thing he did was come into our house and physically assault my wife. The police did not act on this matter either. Then he assaulted me in the premises of the Civil Court. Although it was me who reported the case to the police, the records have been completely altered. In his absence, the matter was investigated and finalised. Without giving me the opportunity to see a doctor about the injury on my leg, I was sent to prison. Later on, I learned that he went to see a doctor and obtained a medical report. Even though the police investigation was over, they still kept me imprisoned as long as they liked.

The police facilitated the way for the termination of the agreement between me and my father-in-law. I was unable to pay rent on time. My father-in-law physically assaulted me, and hit me on the mouth and caused bleeding. Even then there was no investigation of the matter. There was no imprisonment. There was no court case. But the police managed to keep up with the proceedings of all my cases at the civil court.

Because I was revealing these facts in court, my father-in-law and brother-in-law constantly filed complaints with the police. I filed an appeal to you, Honourable President, regarding the court ruling which terminated the building agreement. There were then two documents - the President's reply and the court document stating that myself, wife, children and possessions could not be removed from the premises until the President made a decision on the case. But the police disregarded these two documents, and took me away and imprisoned me. I was told that I could not live in my (Vinoalia) house under house arrest, and the police said if I tried to stay there, I would have to go to jail again. Under police duress I have been kept under house arrest in a room rented at my expense. I will have been there four months in two or three days time.

Honourable President, what lays in front me is fear and menace, pain and suffering. I am in constant fear of being arrested at any moment and put in a prison that is full of abusive practices. I raise my voice in calling to the whole country for a law that would save me from this horror. If such a procedure or law cannot not be found, then I leave it with the Lord of the universe.

What remains is the Day of Judgment. It is a day that will come for sure. On that day, some people will go down. Others will be raised. Human beings, who are formed from a tiny amount of semen, will stand in front of the Creator. The Judge will determine the fate of those who wore the golden robe in the name of sustaining perfect justice and then slaughtered that justice on earth. Those people will hear a sentence of the most severe punishment. Holy Allah has those powers. So I remain waiting for that day. I leave it to holy Allah. Today it is the police who have the power. We have to be patient. I have no hope of not being imprisoned again. I have to be prepared at any moment to be arrested and imprisoned in a place full of abuse. But this dream will end very soon. And then we will all be in the eternal world.

I have attached with this letter a brief report for your information about my case. It began as a civil issue, and due to the fist power of the police, it became a number of criminal cases. I was arrested and subjected to cruel investigations and trials that are still continuing.

Honourable President, I would like to describe to you the brutal investigations the police conduct and the tortures that occur in the prison that I have witnessed with my own eyes. I very respectfully request an appointment with you.

Please accept my respects.
24 October 1999

Yours sincerely,
[Ibrahim Luthfee's signature]

Ibrahim Moosa Luthfee
(Fenmuli, Hithadhoo, Seenu)

President's Office
Male', Maldives

Copy to:
Presidential Palace
Advisor to the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs
Speaker of the People's Majlis
Members of the People's Majlis
Members of the Cabinet
The Chief Justice of Maldives
Chief Judge of the Criminal Court
Candidates of the General Elections 1999

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