The Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office has today told the Criminal Court that it has 11 witnesses against Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, proving that he was in possession of – and under the influence of – alcohol when arrested on the island of Hondaidhoo last November.
During today’s hearing the PG’s lawyers said that the 11 witnesses were police officers in the team that raided Hondaidhoo, and that in addition to the 11 witnesses there were two experts that examined the alcohol found on the island and the related documents showing the test results.
Meanwhile, MP Hamid also submitted eight police officers as witnesses in his defence as well as the two experts that examined the alcohol.
The presiding judge told Hamid that some of the police officers that he had submitted as witnesses in his defence were police officers has been named as witnesses for the prosecution, meaning that he would he would have to change witnesses.
Hamid submitted the witnesses to prove to the court that the alcohol found on Hondaidhoo island did not belong to him and that police had illegally arrested him.
The hearing into MDP MP Abdulla Jabir’s case – also concerning the possession and use of alcohol – was scheduled for today but was cancelled due to the defendant being out of the country.
The trial of the third person charged – Jadhulla Jameel – trial was conducted in the Criminal Court today with state lawyers read out the charges against him, before his lawyers were asked to respond to the charges.
His lawyer said that the charges did not specify that Jadhulla had consumed or possessed alcohol.
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.
Senior MDP members – who had held top portfolios in the the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed – were arrested in the case, including former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza, as well as Nasheed’s Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki and his son.
The state is also pursuing separate charges against MP Hamid in relation to his subsequent failure to provide a urine test.
According to the Drug Act, Sections 123(a), 161(a) and 161(b), any person arrested on suspicion of having abused alcohol or narcotics has an obligation to comply with police requests for routine urine examination by promptly providing urine samples, and failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable with a one-year jail sentence.