The Criminal Court has sentenced Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor for not complying with the court summons in a case where he was charged for refusing to provide a urine sample to police.
Criminal Court Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik today confirmed that the court has sentenced Hamid to six months in prison.
“He was sentenced for not complying with the court orders,’’ he said. ‘”The other case where he is charged for not giving the urine sample will continue.’’
Hamid’s lawyer and former deputy prosecutor general Hussein Shameem today told Minivan News that he had not officially received information about the court verdict but that he had heard it through the media.
‘’In the past eight years no one was sentenced to six months in a case where a person failed to comply with court summons,’’ he said.
Shameem said that normally the court sentences for not complying with court summons were a fine of MVR75 or a four month jail sentence.
He said that he will decide on appealing the case after he gets the court verdict officially.
According to Shameem, the court could sentence Hamid to an additional one year if it finds him guilty of the original case where he was charged for denying a urine sample to police.
Meanwhile, Hamid has issued a statement on the MDP’s website saying that he was not provided with an official requisition form as is required under article 7 of regulations on procuring, transferring, and testing urine samples and that he was not instructed to provide a urine sample as per regulations.
‘”At the hearing of the case held on 9 October 2013, the prosecution (state) lawyer had repeatedly failed to respond to my lawyer’s query whether I was instructed to provide a urine sample through an official requisition form as per regulations,’’ Hamid said in the statement.
“Therefore, this is an irrelevant and unsubstantiated case of political predation by the Maldives Police Service, the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Criminal Court, in direct contravention and disregard to official procedures and laws.’’
He said that he had been attending the court according to the summons until 23 October, when there had been a parliament sitting scheduled meaning he was unable to attend, sending a letter to the court informing it of such.
Hamid said that the court did not respond to his letter.
Parliament yesterday brought an amendment to its regulations, allowing MPs to attend parliamentary sittings and voting even if they are convicted of a criminal offence.
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.
In August this year Criminal Court Media Official Ahmed Mohamed Manik told Minivan News that the PG had charged MDP MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamed with smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming alcohol.
Jabir and Ghafoor were also both charged with objecting to urine testing and possession of cannabis.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza were also charged for objecting to take a urine test, said Manik.
Additionally, the son of former President Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki, has been charged for trafficking illegal drugs into the country – the penalty for which is 25 years and can be fined up to MVR10million.
On 24 October, the Criminal Court issued a warrant to arrest and summon Hamid to the court, but the MP took refuge in the parliament building on the same day meaning police were unable to arrest him.
Article 11 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act states that an MP cannot be summoned to court when Majlis sittings or parliamentary committee hearings are scheduled.
The parliament has also scheduled a no-confidence motion against Prosecutor General [PG] Ahmed Muiz for being biased and also for not fulfilling his legal duties in taking action against police and military officers who violated the law on February 6 and 7, 2012, after the Commission of National Inquiry’s (CoNI) report found that officers had violated the laws.
The issue has been now scheduled to next Monday after the PG told the parliament that he needed more time to respond to the no-confidence motion.