The Criminal Court has postponed a hearing scheduled today to deliver a verdict in MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Siyam Mohamed’s alcohol smuggling and possession trial, reports local media.
At the last hearing in July, Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed had said the verdict would be delivered at the next trial date. The court has confirmed that a hearing scheduled for today has been cancelled, but did not provide an explanation.
The chief judge had taken over Siyam’s case in May after the MP for Dhaalu Meedhoo requested a change of judge.
In June, two witnesses for the prosecution testified to finding a bottle of alcohol in Siyam’s luggage. Both were customs officers.
The government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader was charged with smuggling and possession of alcohol in November after a liquor bottle was found in his luggage in March 2012.
The bottle was discovered in the tourism tycoon’s bag when it was screened at the airport upon his return from a trip overseas.
The penalty for alcohol possession in the penal code is either a fine of between MVR1,000 to MVR3,000 or imprisonment, banishment or house arrest for up to three years.
Siyam’s MDA formed an alliance with the now-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in August to back PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.
In March 2012, an audio clip of a conversation between Siyam and Yameen was leaked on social media, in which the pair aired grievances against PPM leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.