Maldives Supreme Court quashes Nasheed’s terror conviction

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The Maldives Supreme Court today overturned a terror charge conviction against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

A three-member bench ruled that Nasheed was “wrongfully charged”, criticizing the lower court for accepting the case and proceeding with it, local media reported.

The ruling also noted that prior to the judge’s arrest, there had been police reports of him obstructing their work using his influence within the Government, Raajje TV reported.

Further noting that the military had failed to complete procedures in arresting the criminal court judge, the ruling stated that the action was ‘void’. It also noted that despite Judge Abdulla being kept in Girifushi island of Kaafu atoll, that it is clear that he had not been abducted or kidnapped.

The ruling also noted that there was no room to charge the former president with terrorism, and that he was convicted despite the state failing to provide sufficient evidence.

The former president was sentenced to 13 years in prison in March 2015, after being found guilty of ordering the ‘abduction’ of a judge during his presidency.

He was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, after traveling there for medical treatment in January 2016.

In June that year, the Supreme Court upheld Nasheed’s conviction, ruling that he had ‘sufficient time to present his defence’ despite the defence’s arguments over the trial that lasted just 19 days.

In September 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled Nasheed’s jailing was ‘illegal and politically’ motivated.

However, the Yameen administration had rejected the “non-binding opinion.”

While Nasheed had been living in a self-imposed exile since January 2016, following former President Abdulla Yameen’s loss in September’s presidential election, Supreme Court cleared way for Nasheed to return to Maldives by issuing a stay order on his sentence.

Prior to that, a resolution was submitted to parliament, calling on the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court to nullify Nasheed’s terrorism conviction.

While the parliament passed the resolution with the support of 49 lawmakers from the 85-member parliament, the prosecutor general had asked the top court to review the case.

After accepting the case, the Supreme Court concluded hearings in the case on November 19.

The terror conviction led to Nasheed being barred from contesting in the 2018 presidential elections. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was named as an alternative contestant due to the issue. (Colombo Gazette)

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