Criminal Court acquits MDP MP Jabir of cannabis possession charges

The Criminal Court has ruled that the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir was not guilty of possessing cannabis when police raided his uninhabited island – Hondaidhoo in Haa Alifu atoll – in November 2012.

Jabir is currently in Malé jail after the court sentenced him to twelve months after finding him guilty of refusing to provide a urine sample for police to run a drug test.

A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on November 16 after police raided and searched Hondaidhoo with a court warrant. Officers alleged they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island.

Seven of the suspects, including the MDP MPs Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and Jabir were among those charged.

At the time, police submitted cases against former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz. The manager of Jabir’s resort J Alidhoo Jadhulla Jaleel and Zaki’s son Hamdan Zaki also face charges.

Yesterday Jabir’s legal team appealed his recent conviction at the High Court, claiming that the trial had violated the MP’s constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, Jabir is still facing as additional trial for possession of alcohol relating to the Hondaidhoo incident.

According to the constitution, any additional time added to Jabir’s sentence will result in the MP being stripped off his seat in parliament and barred from running in the upcoming parliamentary election. After surviving disciplinary proceedings within the party, Jabir had been scheduled to re-contest his Kaashidhoo seat next month.

Article 73 of the constitution states that a person shall be disqualified from election as a member of the People’s Majlis – or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified – if he has been convicted of a criminal offence and is serving a sentence of more than twelve months.

Additionally, the same article states that if a person has been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months – unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release – or he has been pardoned for the offence for which he was sentenced, he will also be disqualified.