Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Maldives
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||18 August 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Maldives, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e5248203c.html [accessed 4 May 2015]|
Overview: No terrorist incidents occurred in the Maldives in 2010, although there was growing concern about the activities of local violent extremists and their involvement with transnational terrorist groups. There was particular concern about the possibility of young Maldivians joining violent extremist groups in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East and returning to the Maldives to radicalize their peers and establish violent extremist groups.
The Vice President of the Maldives has publically voiced concerns about young Maldivians being recruited by militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In February, the government estimated there were 200-300 unregistered Maldivian students in Pakistan. There was an increasing trend, though a relatively small one, of Maldivians joining terrorist organizations, including those with ties to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Examples of Maldivians with known terrorist ties included the nine Maldivians arrested by Pakistani authorities for involvement with violent extremist groups in the Waziristan region in March 2009, who were subsequently transferred to the Maldives in 2010 and released. In addition, two of the 2007 Sultan Park bombers incarcerated at Maafushi Prison had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences and were released in August 2010. The Sultan Park bombing was the first recorded terrorist bombing in the Maldives, and resulted in injury to 12 foreign nationals.
Because of concerns about radicalization and extremist ideologies, the government continued to control all religious matters, including religious affiliation, expression, education, and worship. According to government officials, the purpose of this tight control was to maintain a moderate Islamic environment rather than an extremist one.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Maldives Police Services led a stakeholder group in drafting a counterterrorism bill, with assistance from INTERPOL and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The bill was in the Attorney General's office for review at year's end.
In December, the Immigration Department began installing a new border control system for the airport with biometric capacity and an integrated database.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Government of Maldives recognized the need for legislation to enhance its ability to prosecute in cases of anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) and fulfillment of UNSCRs. Existing legislation in the Maldives did not criminalize money laundering, apart from a small provision in the Drugs Act. The Maldives Financial Intelligence Unit has taken the lead in drafting an AML/CTF act with IMF assistance. In July, the draft bill was sent to the Attorney General's Office. In November, the Maldives Monetary Authority published for public comment a draft of the Maldives Financial Transactions Reporting regulation. The draft regulation aims to prevent the use of the financial system for money laundering and terrorist financing.
Regional and International Cooperation: The United States and the international community provided counterterrorism training to Maldivian security forces and sponsored Maldivian officials and security force personnel for regional conferences on combating violent extremism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs ran a religiously-based counter-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating prisoners jailed for violent extremism-related incidents. The Minister of Islamic Affairs has written books against extremism and brought mainstream scholars from other countries to talk to Muslims in the Maldives.