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Ibrahim Luthfee's letter to Attorney General Dr Mohamed Munavvar 1999
No Legal Weight
Ibrahim Luthfee
translated by Maldives Culture editors

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

To the Attorney General Dr Mohamed Munavvar
Greetings and I would like to say,

When a person is arrested and accused of committing a crime without satisfactory evidence, it is not difficult to make the accused person admit to committing the offence.

maldives attorney general dr mohamed munavvar
Dr Mohamed Munavvar

First, before questioning begins, the person is beaten up without any consideration of long-term injury. Limbs are sometimes broken. If this doesn't work, then the person's backbone will be broken. After that, the investigator writes a statement saying whatever he likes, and gives it to the accused for signing. There is no doubt that after being subject to torture like this, the person would be willing to admit to things that he had never done.

No talent is required to conduct this sort of investigation. It is enough that the investigator has received colourful medals for bravery. In general, the public does not see police actions of the type I have described. However, we all know this kind of thing happens. We may have experienced them in films or in the news bulletins.

Should police inquiries have specific procedures and rules? Does a person being investigated have rights? Should defence evidence be destroyed? Should there be fairness when providing the protection of legal rights, when the law is applied to an accused person? If the person is subject to harm, should that person's right to send a plea, to the authorities or to the president, be taken away? If that person is likely to be successful in defending himself, should he be chained?

Police brutality is not new to you sir. I remember very well what you said to me, in reference to police brutality, during the few meetings we had. In this situation, I am surprised and stunned by the fact that you prosecute me based on reports from investigations of this type.

I made a claim of being physically assaulted inside the Civil Court by the honourable Member of Peoples' Majlis, Ismail Zahir (Agi house, Henveiru ward) of Kudahuvahu island, Dhaalu Atoll, and about the brutal investigation conducted by the police. Despite this information being known to you, a claim was raised against me on the same matter in court. This shocked me even more.

You have supported a bankrupt investigative system. However, I argued in defence of the claim raised against me, though your skilful prosecuting lawyerkept saying in eloquent language that I was the one who committed the assault, and that what I said had 'no legal weight'.

When asked whether Isamil Zahir, who claimed to have been assaulted, could be summoned to the court, it was affirmed. However, in the same way the investigation was carried out, the trial was also concluded without him being summoned to the court. I was fined two hundred rufiyaa after being found guilty of the offence of battery.

In the belief that people like Dr Munavvar, who hold degrees, would know what best to do about this sort of investigation and the trial, I remained silent. My great grandfather, Faleelathul Sheikh Ibrahim Luthfee (Addu Thuththu Didi) during his time as the Attorney General of Maldives resigned from his position on a day he had to raise a particular claim in court. He refused to raise that claim. Was it because of his lack of skills and the 'legal weight' his educational certificates?

Honourable Attorney General, since I appear to have woken up in a completely new world and feeling immature, I respectfully remind you about this trial because you have raised a new type of legal claim against me, and the tune of this litigation is changing. This claim of having lied about my identity; the obvious question is, what is the grave crime that I have committed here?

I am surprised and stunned. It is not possible for me to be guilty. And I do not know how to defend this sort of thing, and I don't know when the trial will come to an end. I have been put in prison twice. I have been placed under house arrest in a rented room, twice. Since the 3rd of July I have been under detention. A third of the year is now gone. It is all because of this same problem. Neither a court of law, nor any other authority, has sentenced me, and yet I am being kept under arrest. Isn't this a remarkable matter?

Please accept my respects,
22 October 1999

Yours sincerely,
(Luthfee's signature)

Ibrahim Moosa Luthfee
Fenmuli house, Hithadhoo island , Seenu Atoll

Office of the Attorney General
Male', Maldives

Copy to:
To the noble presence of the President al-usthaz Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom
Head of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs
Speaker of the People's Majlis
Members of the People's Majlis
Members of the Cabinet
Chief Justice of Maldives
Chief Magistrate of the Criminal Court
Candidates of the General Elections 1999

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