Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team has called on Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin to drop criminal charges, claiming the opposition leader’s constitutional rights had been violated for three years on pending “unlawful” charges.
Muhsin on Monday withdrew charges against all former government and army officials accused of detaining Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed for further review. The withdrawal came amidst Nasheed’s challenge of the process by which judges were appointed to an extraordinary bench to oversee his trial.
The offense carries a maximum jail term of three years under Article 81 of the Penal Code, but will carry a reduced sentence in the new Penal Code scheduled to come in to force in April.
“President Mohamed Nasheed’s charges have been pending without a verdict for three years. In those three years, he has been deprived of his constitutional and legal rights and the trial has affected his political career,” said Nasheed’s lawyers in a letter to the PG.
Nasheed was first summoned to court in 2012, but the trial was stalled in 2013 when the High Court began to review the composition of the bench. After a two-year hiatus, the High Court on February 9 threw out Nasheed’s complaint, paving the way for the trial to restart at the Hulhumalé magistrate court.
However, the former president’s legal team immediately launched a new challenge at the Civil Court. Meanwhile, the Maldivian Democratic Party accused the PG of attempting to expedite the case before the enactment of the new Penal Code in order to bar Nasheed from contesting the 2018 presidential polls.
Nasheed’s lawyers today contended the PG is not authorized to take up the charges in court for a second time.
MDP has describing the case among many “unjust obstacles to the party and President Nasheed.” Further pursuit of the case only “serves the government’s political agenda” the party claimed.
Judge Abdulla’s arrest led to daily protests on the streets of the capital, culminating in a police and army mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation on February 7.
Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim, a key figure in Nasheed’s ouster, has called on the state to drop charges, describing charges as “out of line with national and public interest.”
In January, the MDP and JP formed an alliance against President Abdulla Yameen’s claiming his administration has repeatedly violated the constitution.