Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has been found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Delivering the verdict at the final hearing of the trial tonight, Judge Abdulla Didi said the prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed ordered the chief judge’s arrest or “forceful abduction.”

Nasheed was the “architect” of the “atrocity,” Judge Didi said.

The chief judge’s detention on Girifushi Island was unlawful and unconstitutional, he continued, noting that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) defied orders from the Criminal Court, High Court and Supreme Court to release the judge.

Judge Didi also said the former president has a criminal record for theft, terrorism, false testimony and disobedience to orders.

While state prosecutors presented closing arguments tonights, Nasheed asked for 20 days to prepare his closing statement, stating he was unable to communicate with lawyers and examine evidence while incarcerated at Dhoonidhoo detention centre.

The former president asked to be transferred to Malé for better access to his lawyers.

He also objected to the hearing taking place on a Friday, noting that it was a public holiday where Muslims were enjoined to worship and spend time with family.

Tonight’s hearing was scheduled to begin at 8:30pm, but started around 9:15pm. After closing arguments, the judges adjourned proceedings and reconvened around 11:00pm.

Nasheed was smiling when the verdict was read out and shook hands with three of his family members while he was escorted out.

The opposition leader’s lawyers have said they intend to appeal the verdict at the High Court. If the lower court ruling is upheld by both the High Court and Supreme Court, Nasheed would not be able to contest the 2018 presidential election.

Home Minister Umar Naseer meanwhile tweeted saying he has “asked police to hold [President] Nasheed in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre until a special unit is constructed in Maafushi Prison.”

Nasheed was charged with “enforced disappearance” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990, which carries a jail term of between 10 to 15 years.

Prior to a hearing on March 9, all four of Nasheed’s lawyers quit in protest of the Criminal Court’s refusal to grant sufficient time to examine the prosecution’s evidence and mount a defence.

The presiding judges had denied the lawyers’ request for adequate time, stating the legal team has had the case documents for three years.

Judges also insisted in tonight’s verdict that Nasheed was offered both enough time to prepare his defence and access to lawyers, claiming he refused the opportunity to appoint new lawyers.

Nasheed was first charged in 2012 with arbitrary detention under article 81 of the penal code, which carries either banishment or a jail term of up to three years.

On February 15, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin withdrew the charges filed at the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court. Nasheed was arrested on February 22 shortly after the PG filed terrorism charges at the Criminal Court.

At the previous hearing, Judges Didi, Abdul Bari Yousuf, and Shujau Usman dismissed the opposition leader’s repeated requests for legal representation. The judges also refused to hear defence witnesses, claiming they could not negate the prosecution’s evidence or witness testimony.

“I want a lawyer. This is not a court of law. This is injustice. This is the biggest circus this country has seen in its constitutional history,” Nasheed said.

Sit-in

Continuing its daily protests since Nasheed’s arrest, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) began a march at the ‘Usfasgandu’ area of Malé around 4:30pm today with thousands of supporters.

After walking down Majeedhee Magu, protesters split into two groups and staged a sit-down behind police barricades at Orchid Magu and Fareedhee Magu. Both roads lead to the Criminal Court building.

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Police escorted Nasheed to court around 8:00pm for the last hearing of his trial. The opposition leader attempted to talk to journalists assembled outside the building, but was blocked by police.

Nasheed told the journalists to “stay strong.”

Around 8:40pm, according to a live blog on the police website, police said the Criminal Court complained to police of loud noise from loudspeakers on a pickup used by the protesters.

Police said protesters were repeatedly advised to turn down the volume, but refused to comply.

Specialist Operations (SO) officers confiscated the loudspeakers after “giving a last warning.”

Moreover, police said protesters threw objects at riot police and “some people who obstructed police duty were taken into police custody.”

A Minivan News journalist near the Salsa restaurant on Orchid Magu observed police using pepper spray indiscriminately and arresting at least six protesters.

When SO officers pushed back protesters with their shields and attempted to take over the pickups, protesters threw bottles at the riot police.

Violent clashes erupted between SO officers and protesters.

One protester was seen bleeding from the head after the clashes. However, SO officers took the pickups away, pushed back protesters and withdrew behind barricades.

Meanwhile, a group of about five young men hurled crude oil at a protest pickup at Fareedhee Magu and vandalised equipment. Police have also confirmed the incident.

The five men were reportedly arrested at the scene.

Police also said a protester was taken to hospital after being pepper sprayed and released after treatment. Police did not specify the nature of the injury.

According to an update on the police blog at 11:40pm, two police officers were attacked near Salsa restaurant and their vehicle was damaged during the assault. A cameramen was also injured and protesters threw bottles at journalists, police said.

The sit-in protest was continuing at the time of publication.


Related to this story

Nasheed trial “not free or fair,” says Maldivian Democracy Network

“This is not a court of law. This is injustice,” Nasheed tells the Criminal Court

Nasheed’s lawyers quit

Nasheed’s lawyers stage no-show citing insufficient time for preparation

State prosecutors influencing witnesses, claim Nasheed’s lawyers

Chief of Defense Forces testifies in Nasheed, Tholhath terrorism trials

Nasheed contests credibility of police and military witnesses in terrorism trial

Judges Didi and Yoosuf refuse to step down from Nasheed’s terrorism trial

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Former President Nasheed arrives in court with arm in makeshift sling

Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers

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27 thoughts on “Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison”

  1. the end of an era.

    thats what happens when you turned your back on Maumoon when you had the chance to deal with him once and for all.

    but no you had to be the good guy. and who is to say that Maumoon wont forgive you and set you free because you're no longer eligible as a presidential candidate.

    check mate.

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  2. What a farce!!! Nasheed a terrorist? Where is the international community. The majority of Maldivians cannot do anything about it. Either they are too corrupt to the core or helpless because their life will be endangered if they rise up. A very very sad day for Maldives Justice and for the ordinary common folk. If the courts can send a former president to jail on terrorism charges, what will be the fate of the ordinary island folks. Don't ever pick a "breadfruit" even if it is rotten. You may be sentenced to hell! Kaaminee clan is back with a vengeance.

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  3. We will do what we want to do in this country. India , UK, USA, EU and common wealth please keep off. This is a sovereign nation. Otherwise we will be forced to tell you to go fly a kite. You put no input to our nation. We are happy with China and they have money

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  4. Its a sad dark day to many, not a day to celebrate as repurcusions from without will definitely affect our economy, our income, our image abroad, etc

    Reconciliation is always the key to understanding, a better relationship between people. Cubans and Americans just did it, and see now the fruits of peace…

    A truly sad day…..

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  5. What next?

    Mohamed Nasheed is going to prison for all of us.

    Even if that is not so, he is going to prison at least for me.

    It came to my mind to today that Mohamed Nasheed is a bit like Julian Assange, the Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks.

    Nasheed and Assange are both unconventional figures fighting for lost causes.

    However, Assange is better known and more admired and decorated around the world than Nasheed is.

    Nasheed is very unfortunate in that he was born in the Maldives. He does not have a CV, the like of which is recognised in the Maldives as belonging to a good and great man.

    In any case, Nasheed had a tough time because he was fighting basically against one man, Gayoom, who ruled the country for 30 years fairly successfully. Gayoom's success was due to his peculiar combination of ruthless brutality and Islamic learning.

    This Gayoom combination worked because it followed the rules of Maldivian tradition which has not been penetrated by the modern Western culture coming from Britain.

    The success of Gayoom in the Maldives went hand in hand with the failure of British colonialism in the Maldives.Britain had no message for the Maldives, but Gayoom had.

    The British Conservative Party recruited their man in the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, a bit too late.

    In any case, Britain has never been interested in the Maldives sufficiently
    in order to motivate itself to be more involved in Maldivian politics and culture.

    One country's loss is perhaps another country's gain. Nasir and Gayoom both admired Singapore which is actually an off-shoot of China.

    China and Maldives have been flirting with each other for sometime. These two countries may now go further in their relationship, first getting engaged and then getting married.

    What future, then, for Mohamed Nasheed? Well, we should recall what happened to President Mohamed Ameen first, and then President Ibrahim Nasir later. The fate of these two gentlemen may visit my hero Mohamed Nasheed.

    Nasheed has had two unique successes though. He gave a state funeral in Male to Ibrahim Nasir who lived and died in exile in Singapore and later Nasheed named the Male International Airport
    after his hero Ibrahim Nasir.

    These two achievements of Nasheed have stayed, unchallenged by his opponents and enemies.

    Does this have any lasting political message and meaning? It is too early to tell.

    It is said that fortune favours the brave. Brave my dear Nasheed no doubt is. Will he be favoured by fortune?

    That, only time can tell too.

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  6. Shame on your so called government. This is not justice but a hideous deformed version of it. DISGUSTING!!

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  7. Everything has gone according to plan.

    A few weeks in, PPM will realize that by jailing Nasheed, they have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that 'hithirikan' as a policy only gets one stabbed in the back - and once they realize what the next generation opposition are capable of, they'll admit that arresting Nasheed the peacenik was a big mistake.

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  8. This is only the beginning. Nasheed will rise stronger than ever from this. Nasheed represents thousands of Maldivians, their wishes, dreams and convictions. There's nothing that this autocratic regime can do to destroy that.

    May Allah give Nasheed the strength and courage to remain true to his convictions in the face of tyranny from the Mugabe of the Indian Ocean. Nasheed for sure will lead this nation once again!

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  9. Just a small item of "the 30 years in power" plan has been achieved.
    We have seen nothing yet.
    What's next?

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  10. As far as I know this is the first time a court has ruled that it's own State's Defense forces carried out a terrorist operation.

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  11. Where is the people who are behind Nasheed? IF your numbers are good then there is no evil force that can simply destroy a peaceful gentle man. Seems fish blood is not thick enough. The evil cannot be destroyed without courage and defiance. No one will come to recues you, you have to stand up for your rights and if your numbers are as good as portrayed then what else do you need.

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  12. @ Micheal FAhmy?
    What is this bs about Anni going to president for all of us? Something like christians claim that Jesus dies for their sins?
    I am no great fan of Anni or Yamin but i also agree with my laadheenee friends here that this time injustice was served to Anni. Nor do i condone this kufr system by which we are judging justice and injustice..

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  13. how can nasheed defend himself when his defense lawyers quit.the blame should be in the defense lawyers.

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  14. Today justice had prevailed in this country.

    We have witnessed that even the president will have to stay within the foundry of our constitution .

    Nasheed had violated our constitution within 8 hours in his office as the President and there on continue to breach the constitution.

    He has threaten the public to obey his rule or else the face the consequences on many occasion and on many of his public speech.

    He had assumed that by locking the supreme court will help to frighten the public of his ultimate power .

    He had told openly that those who does not support him , will face consequences and his right hand even will not know what evil he will do by left hand.

    he had arrested President Yameen, Gasim and Dr. Jameel thinking that people of Maldives will be frightened and will stop raising against the evil

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  15. Exactly why I decided not to raise my half-breed Maldivian children in Maldives. Full of corruption and not any tolerance or rightfulness.

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  16. I am not for YAG. But why all these concerned people were not concerned when MN did the same thing here? Why? Why?

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  17. While Nasheed may be personally popular internationally, he has lowered the profile of Maldivains to the status of 'environmental refugees'. He has given Maldives a bad name as a 'sinking country'.

    Maldives has always been ruled by dictators and kings. But they have never lowered the proud status of Maldives as Nasheed has done.

    Nasheed is a misguided soul.

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  18. Facts don't matter here!
    True, Nasheed turned his back on Maumoon, knowing that he would be stabbed!
    Truth is that if Nasheed had done what Maumoon did to Late Nasir, he could have not been any better than Maumoon!
    Fault with Nasheed seems to be that he wanted something for a people who did not have the capacity to believe reality!
    13th March 2015 will certainly be written in world history of the current day democracy and in the books of judiciary!
    The Maldives called the world to visit the "Sunny Side of Life"!
    Today we seem to be walking in to another "Sunny Side of Life"!

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  19. Fallo, why are you turning towards the international community to fix local problems? The majority of the Maldivans CAN do something about it, actually it's the Maldivian people in the first place who make all the difference. Maldivian people CAN do it, but don't want it enough due to reasons as you state them: too corrupt or too scared.

    Let's take another situation. Imagine your son or daughter being mugged. The aggressors offer you money to stay out of it. What would you do:
    - Look at other bystanders to intervene (scared)
    - Accept the money and let them trash your kid (corrupt)
    - Protect your child, even if the aggressors outnumber you greatly and it puts you at risk

    Being scared is no reason not to do anything, because in long term you'll be harmed more than by being injured in a fight.

    Being corrupt makes you part of the problem. Righteous people should turn against you and trash you just as much as the aggressors.

    Fighting for the good of the people is risky. But the goal is worth the risk. Hit them hard and hit them smart.

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  20. Sad to see how a beautiful, peaceful country could be changed into total chaos by unruly rulers!

    There are four words which people never understand here, but always use them in their speeches to hide their iniquities behind them. Those are: Constitution, Judiciary, Democracy and yes, Islam too.
    The meaning of these four words is completely different here from any other part of the world. I wonder anybody has ever seen a copy of the constitution even.

    One thing is clear in world history. Atrocious dictators have never seen good days in the later part of their life. Example: Hitler, Mussolini, Gaddafi, Idi Amin and many more. On the other hand, democratic, good-hearted leaders like Abraham Lincoln are still having their own good places in history. We know that history repeats. Let's see how it repeats here, in Maldives.

    How I wish that Maldives' peace returns back, soon!

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  21. Agree, that in the end its up to the Maldivian people to lose their fear. There is a turning point and it looks like we are hesitating to reach it.. instead it is coming to us.

    How far do we have to be pushed to release this fear? We are far more powerful than we care to realize. We don't need to hide behind fear or clothe ourselves in corruption in the hope that this fear will then go away. That lack of fear is being clearly shown to us via Nasheed's example. We, as good men and women standing by, are allowing evil to happen in the name of nation and religion when we all know deep down that its all lies that are being paraded, and now paraded transparently.

    We are all involved in this sham whether we like it or not, simply by being who we are. So it really is a choice and we have to live with it and not make excuses,blaming the MDP for "upsetting everything and wreaking havoc" and blaming the outside world for commenting on what's clearly rotten. We are collectively responsible for those dead kids, the impetus for the opposition in the first place (lets not forget that) and for the situation we find ourselves in today.

    We need to face our own consciences brutally and honestly and painfully, then be the change we want to see in this world (to quote that other non violent pacifist Gandhi) .. or not, then live with the consequences. Time for our nation to grow up, against all the odds.

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