The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has condemned in the “strongest terms” the sentencing of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim to 11 years in jail.
The Criminal Court on March 26 found Nazim guilty of smuggling weapons. Denying the accusation, Nazim had said the weapons were planted at his home by rogue officers on the orders of Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.
Both the police and the Tourism Minister have dismissed Nazim’s claims as baseless and untrue.
The MDP said Nazim was sentenced in an investigation and a trial “rigged with irregularities.”
“Despite the state not being able to disprove the contradictions in testimony given by state witnesses and the irregularities in the Police investigation raised by the defence, the court sentenced Col. (Rtd) Nazim to 11 years in jail,” the party said in a statement today.
The MDP noted the Criminal Court did allow Nazim’s legal team to call the majority of defence witnesses on the claim they would “not negate” the prosecution’s evidence.
The opposition party also said the court had refused to address the “blatant irregularities” evident in the Maldives Police Service’s investigation of the case, ranging from the initial warrant to search the former Defence Minister’s residence, to the chain of custody process in relation to the weapons that were supposedly found in his apartment.
The statement also noted the “unlawful” trial was presided over by the same three judges who sentenced former President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges on March 13.
“The sentences against President Mohamed Nasheed and Col. (Rtd) Nazim, arrests of over 120 people, including MPs and media, and the sending of 90 cases for prosecution against people detained from peaceful protests highlight the politicisation of the entire criminal justice system,” the MDP said.
‘There is no separation between the Government and the Judiciary in the pursuit of their political objectives. Their attempts to eliminate their political opponents through politically motivated charges and sham trials do not contain even a veneer of due process,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.