The life sentence handed down to Hussein Mohamed Sobah of Raa Atoll for drug possession was today overturned at the High Court.
In January 2013, Sobah was given the sentence after the Criminal Court found him guilty of possessing 2.5k of illegal drugs.
The High Court ruling today stated that Sobah had appealed the ruling, basing his argument on four main points. The High Court, however, had only referred to fact that police had failed to obtain a warrant – or the permission of the owner – before searching the premises of Golden Alloy Pvt Ltd [where the drugs were discovered].
The High Court said that when the judges panel presiding over the case looked into the matter, it noticed that Sobah had highlighted this issue during the Criminal Court hearings.
The court stated that the only situation in which the police can enter a house without the consent of the owner or with a court warrant was in a situation where a person’s life was at risk, requiring police to take immediate action.
The ruling said that the evidence collected inside the premises of Golden Alloy Pvt Ltd could not be considered as admissible, and that the constitution of the Maldives stated that the court should dismiss any evidence collected unlawfully.
In June 2011, police arrested Sobah with another man on suspicion that they were in possession of illegal narcotics, during a special operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED).
At the time the then-DED Superintendent Mohamed Jinah said that the police were able to seize the drugs before they had been circulated across the country, and that this was a great success for the police and government.
The street value of these drugs was estimated by the police to be approximately MVR1.7 million (US$110,000) .
The two men were arrested near the UN building in the Galolhu district on Malé following intelligence reports. Police stated that the drugs were imported with the assistance of a cargo vessel.
“The vessel drops these things into the sea into an area determined by them,’’ the police at the time. “They went to the location on a dingy and picked it up and brought it to Malé.’’
The second man arrested with Sobah was also tried at the Criminal Court, though the court ruled there was not enough evidence to prove guilt.
The Criminal Court’s ruling on Sobah stated that the fingerprint comparison report for the drugs discovered inside the office matched with the left hand, middle finger, of Sobah.