Home » Police Arrest Minister Over ‘Witchcraft’ Allegations

Police Arrest Minister Over ‘Witchcraft’ Allegations

by Paul Nyongesa
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Police in the Maldives have arrested the country’s environment minister, officials said on Thursday, with local media reporting she was accused of performing “witchcraft” on the president.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, the State Minister for Environment, Climate Change, and Technology, Fathimath Shamnaz Ali Saleem, was arrested on Sunday along with two others in the capital, Male, police stated.

She has been remanded for one week pending investigation, officials added, without providing further details on her arrest.

“There have been reports that Shamnaz was arrested for performing witchcraft on President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu,” said Sun, a local media outlet.


Police have neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Her position is crucial in a country at the forefront of the climate crisis, with United Nations environmental experts warning that rising seas could make it uninhabitable by the end of the century.

Witchcraft is not a criminal offense under the penal code in the predominantly Muslim Maldives, but it carries a penalty of up to six months in jail under Islamic law.

People across the islands engage in various traditional rituals, believing they can gain favor or curse opponents.

A 62-year-old woman was stabbed to death by three neighbors in Manadhoo in April 2023 after being accused of practicing witchcraft, reported the Mihaaru news website last week, following a prolonged police investigation.

It quoted police saying they found no evidence that the murder victim practiced witchcraft.

In 2012, police disrupted an opposition political rally after accusing organizers of throwing a “cursed rooster” at officers raiding their offices.

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