Maldives police accused of civil rights abuses being trained by Scottish police
Source: the guardian
The Maldives are marketed as a tourist paradise; a chain of idyllic coral islands with golden, palm-fringed beaches, where holidaymakers can bathe undisturbed in the warm, crystal-clear seas of the Indian Ocean.
But that image has been challenged by a series of damning reports by human rights investigators. They accuse the Maldives police service (MPS) of serious, repeated civil rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters, opposition MPs and journalists.
Violence in the Commonwealth nation sharply escalated this year after the forced departure of the Maldives' first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed, in February. Human rights agencies believe that the alleged coup, and the violence since then, has shattered the islands' slow, fragile journey to democracy.
That conflict, which has reportedly led to the mass detention of 2,000 opposition activists, assaults and arrests of 19 opposition MPs, as well as sexual assaults, torture and the indiscriminate use of pepper sprays – including twice against ex-president Nasheed, has raised significant questions about the role of British police in training and advising the islands' controversial police service.