Witness testimony concludes in trials of former Defence Minister Tholhath, ex-Colonel Ziyad

The Criminal Court today concluded hearing witness testimony in the terrorism trials of former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfan and ex-Colonel Mohamed Ziyad.

The pair are accused of involvement in the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. Former President Mohamed Nasheed has already been found guilty of ordering the arrest and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

According to local media, the last state witness testified at today’s hearings, and the lawyers for both defendants said they would address the state’s evidence during closing statements at the final hearing.

Testifying in both hearings today, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Colonel Ibrahim Rasheed said Tholhath had claimed that he would take responsibility for the chief judge’s 22-day detention in Girifushi island.

In Ziyad’s case, the colonel said a special operation was conducted on January 16, 2012, to take the judge into military custody, but said he was unaware of details of the operation.

Both Tholhath and Ziyad declined to present defence witnesses. However, Ziyad’s lawyer requested the opportunity to address the testimony of state’s witnesses as well as documentary evidence during closing arguments.

Closing statements in the trial of former Chief of Defence Forces Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel – currently President Abdulla Yameen’s defence minister – are due to be heard at a hearing scheduled for tonight, after which judges could deliver a verdict at their discretion.