Terrorism trials on February 8 arson in Addu City postponed

The trial of 35 people from Addu City charged with terrorism over arson attacks in Addu City on February 8, 2012 resumed at the Criminal Court yesterday after a hiatus of over a year.

Of the 35 individuals charged with setting fire to the Gan police station in the aftermath of the transfer of presidential power, only three were summoned to the court.

The trial was reportedly postponed because the defence lawyers were not provided documents related to the case.

The court has said it was facing difficulties summoning defendants from the southernmost atoll as well as housing and feeding the accused. Under the Judicature Act, terrorism trials must be conducted at the Criminal Court in Malé.

More than 80 people from Addu City are facing terrorism charges for acts of arson on February 8, which saw police vehicles, courts and police stations torched. Riots spread across the country following a brutal crackdown on an opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) march in the capital.

In a press release issued on September 18 after the hearings were scheduled, the MDP contended that the trials against dozens of the party’s members and supporters in Addu City and Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo were politically-motivated acts of intimidation.

The party also accused the government of threatening to prosecute persons who participate in MDP activities.

The press statement also noted that police officers who committed crimes on February 6, 7 and 8 were not being prosecuted.