Transcript of Interview with Reeko Moosa Manik MP, Interim Chairperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party, given from his hospital bed, after he was beaten up by police following a protest by the MDP on Wednesday afternoon.
N.B. The part in Italics is the reporter speaking.
[Video starts here] While we were in there the police came, sprayed pepper spray and started beating us. We ran into the road, to the east of the market, and hid in a shop… selling tiles… if… if I remember correctly. I walked in first followed by President Nasheed and Maria. We went into the back and stayed in the storage area.
Police came in after a while and asked the people at the counter where Maria and them were. When the people at the counter did not respond the police charged into the back of the store and I said to the President, “They are coming to kill us and so I will just let them do what they want to do” and I walked out. The president followed saying, “Moosa don’t go alone”, followed by Maari.
When they police looked at me [to hit me] the President said, “Don’t hurt [him]” and they… hurled abuse at the President. Maari said the same thing. I said, “If you want to beat us beat me first” and by then they had already hit me on the face three or four times. They pointed their fingers at me and said, “You are a person we want to kill”. The army person? It was police… they were police not army personal.
It was a very narrow path and they pushed me out, beating me. They threw me out on the doorstep and hit me in the groin with their boots. Two policemen were holding my hands, spread, and one person held me by the back, and everyone (police) was beating me. The people on the dhonis [boats] saw everything. One person hit me here… on the ribs… with his boots. By the time I had my wits about me I could not breathe and I begged them to stop…. I pleaded that I was dying. They said, “We want to kill you. Do not think you can behave like you do and get away. You will have to die today”. They did not let me go and continued beating me. And I saw an MNDF [army] person. He ran to me hugged me and said, “Don’t hit, and don’t hit”.
We reached MTCC [a local company] by then and they continued to beat me… I was surrounded. They were hauling abuse at me and spraying pepper spray into my eyes. One person forced my mouth open and sprayed… I fell over, coughing. The MNDF person was trying to protect me. Then came a police person in plain clothes… he was wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt… I know him. He jumped… and he tried to… and he said I want to embed this into your brain (probably a stick or a pole). It broke open a gash of about two inches and it hit the shoulder of the MNDF person. He was hurt too. And then… the blood was gushing out… and I fell onto the road. And they stomped onto my hand. They all seem to really enjoy hitting me in the groin.
Then I did not know where they were taking me, two persons were dragging me by the hands. Then they got into a dispute within themselves. One person was saying not to hit me. With my knowledge, a bunch of them in Star Force attire, some in plain blue and another bunch of them in the… the dark blue uniform continued to beat me. When the blood started flowing [from the groin] they asked me to, “Cover it with your hand… and you will die in a bit”. Then… then I did not know what they were saying. After that I did not know what was going on. By the time we reached the bus I had nothing left in me. There was a brother [relative] in the bus and that’s why I survived. When I got here I was in a lot of pain. Now… now… my spine hurts… it hurts a lot. And when I relieve myself I bleed. I am in a lot of pain. Insha Allah, I will be well soon.