Former Defense Minister Tholhath pleads not guilty to terrorism charges

Former Minister of Defense Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges over the January 2012 detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

At a 5:00pm trial on Monday, Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Didi gave Tholhath three days to appoint a lawyer and answer charges.

Tholhath’s hearing took place right after former President Mohamed Nasheed appeared in court over the same charges. Judge Didi had placed Nasheed in police custody until the end of the trial.

Brigadier General (Rtd) and MP Ibrahim Didi, Colonel (Rtd) Mohamed Ziyad, and current Defense Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel also face terrorism charges over the judge’s arrest. But the three have not been informed of when their trials are to take place.

Jaleel was the Chief of Defense Forces during the judge’s arrest. He was appointed as Defense Minister in late January following the dismissal of then Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim after a controversial discovery of weapons at his residence.

Nazim is currently in police custody over terrorism and treason charges.

Three successive Defense Ministers in the Maldives now face terrorism charges. The offense carried a jail term between ten and 15 years.