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The Maldives: Climate minister arrested for “black magic” on President Muizzu

The Maldives: Climate minister arrested for “black magic” on President Muizzu

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: In a bizarre incident, the Maldives Police arrested the State Environment Minister, Fatimah Shamnaz Ali Saleem, and two others, for allegedly using “black magic” against President Mohamed Muizzu.

Although sorcery is not a criminal offense under the Maldivian law, it can result in a six-month jail sentence under Islamic law, the media reported on Thursday.

Fatimah Saleem, the state minister for environment, climate change, and energy, was apprehended on Sunday in the Maldivian capital city of Male, along with two others, the police told local media channels.

She was held in custody for a week pending investigation, with officers not providing specific details regarding her arrest.
Local media outlet, the Sun, reported, “There have been reports that Shamnaz was arrested for performing black magic on President Mohamed Muizzu.”

Shamnaz’s former husband, Adam Rameez, who previously worked closely with President Muizzu, has also been suspended. He has not been seen with Muizzu for several months. The arrested minister is a mother of three, including an infant under the age of one.

Apart from Shamnaz, her sibling and another suspect were also detained on June 23. They were reportedly remanded in custody for seven days following a court appearance. The suspects include Shamnaz’s younger sibling and the alleged sorcerer.

Traditional ceremonies, believed to bring good fortune or harm to opponents, are widely practiced across the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier, a 62-year-old woman was murdered by three neighbors on Manadhoo in April 2023 after being accused of performing black magic, according to the Mihaaru news site, following an extensive police investigation.

The police stated there was no evidence that the victim engaged in sorcery.

In 2012, police intervened at an opposition political rally, claiming the organizers had thrown a “cursed rooster” at officers conducting a raid on their offices.


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