Maldives police raid TV station over 'threatening video'

Maldivian police Image copyright AP
Image caption Police suspended transmission and removed computer hard discs in the three-hour raid (file photo)

Police in the Maldives raided a private television station in connection with a YouTube video allegedly threatening President Abdulla Yameen.

Police removed hard discs from Sangu TV's studios in the capital Male.

The video reportedly shows three masked men issuing a death threat against the president.

President Yameen imposed a state of emergency on Wednesday after the military said it found a bomb in a vehicle near the presidential palace.

"The station has come to a complete standstill," Sangu TV's managing director Ibrahim Waheed said.

"They turned the whole office upside down in search of evidence. The office safe has also been broken into and searched. They've taken all the hard drives of all our computer systems."

He added that was certain Sangu TV's staff and management had not uploaded the video, Minivan News reported.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, giving police wider powers to arrest

The court sanctioned the raid because of police intelligence reports and information received from YouTube, the warrant states.

The video - which was previously dismissed as fake by Maldivian authorities - allegedly shows three masked men issuing a death threat to the president and his former deputy Ahmed Adeeb, with the Islamic State flag in the background.

Maldives crisis in 60 seconds

The men reportedly give the president and Mr Adeeb 30 days to agree to their terms, which include a call on the government to release the president of the Adhaalath Party, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, who is awaiting trial for terrorism charges.

"We are calling you to release Imran immediately without any terms or conditions," one man allegedly says.

The men also call for the withdrawal of the anti-terrorism bill from parliament, adding that failure to comply would result in "deadly attacks" for which the president and his deputy would be responsible.

There are growing concerns about radicalisation in the Maldives. According to local media, dozens of Maldivian nationals have joined IS, and at least five have died.

Political infighting has led to growing unrest. On Wednesday, the country's parliament voted to remove Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb from office after he was charged with treason in connection with an explosion on the president's boat.

He denies trying to kill the president.

The country's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, was jailed in March on terrorism charges, following a rushed trial which the UN says was seriously flawed. President Yameen rejected a UN call for Mr Nasheed's release.

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