Historian breaks his silence on Gayoom





A prominent historian has broken his silence on Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s regime to the ruling Maldivian Democracy Party, calling for justice against the former president.

In a letter to MP for Hulu-Henveiru Reeko Moosa Manik, 82-year-old Shafeeg ge Shafeeg writes that under the previous government, police raided his house and confiscated numerous diaries detailing his life and social events since he left school.

Prompted by the recent discovery of human remains on the former site of Gaamaadhoo Jail, the historian notes the diaries contained information about the disappearances of 111 people under the former regime.

“The way I see it, the public has the right to know about these writings,” he said.

Last week, inmates on the former site of the jail unearthed human remains while digging to plant trees. The president’s office called for an investigation due to past speculation about missing inmates.

Speaking to Minivan News, Mohamed Zuhair, president’s press secretary, said the President Mohamed Nasheed instructed police and executives at the president’s office to try and locate the diaries.

“Because he’s a respected historian and he has his rights,” said Zuhair. “He probably has very important information in these diaries and as a historian, his work is his legacy.”

He added Shafeeg had lived under three presidents and would be able to provide invaluable historical information if the diaries were found...

... Shafeeg writes that Gayoom targeted him because outlook was different to others working in the government at the time. His diaries, he says, were filled with his personal thoughts about the government and the direction it was heading.

In his letter, he tells of how he was interrogated by police who repeatedly asked him why he had kept these diaries and who had given him “these ideas”. Shafeeg alleges two of his friends, who were also grilled about his diary, died following continued police brutality.

“I believe the things I recorded in my diary were personal and as long as I didn’t show them to anybody there was no problem,” writes Shafeeg. “There may have been thoughts I recorded which were not good but I see no reason why the law should take action.”

Shafeeg narrates three ways in which Gayoom’s government “killed” citizens. The first was through continual persecution of an individual; the second through mental torture, thus depriving the victim of their faculty of independent thought; and the third, through physical torture.

“Before I was detained by police for a long period, people can vouch for the fact that I was a very healthy person,” he writes. “But after the prolonged detention, I have become a very sick person. Now I am somebody who has to take 18 different forms of medication every day just to stay alive...

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