Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has failed to attend a second court hearing into charges of disobedience to order.
The Home Ministry has reported Naseer left the country last night on an official trip to the Netherlands to source sniffer dogs and body scanner machines for airport security purposes.
Naseer is accused of calling for 2,000 volunteers to storm the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters with 50 ladders on January 23, 2012 during two weeks of protests following the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
Judge Abdulla Didi, who is presiding over Naseer’s case, warned action will be taken against the minister if he fails to attend the next hearing of the case, scheduled to be held on Thursday, June 12.
“I sincerely appeal to you not to force us to have the minister placed under detention and presented to court,” Abdulla Didi said to Naseer’s lawyer, Adam Asif, in court today.
The Home Ministry, however, said it had notified the court in advance that Naseer will be out of the country from June 9 to June 16. The Criminal Court has rescheduled hearings in previous cases if any of the parties are unable to attend.
But the judge stated that Naseer had gone abroad previously on an official trip after receiving summons for the last scheduled hearing.
Although the Home Ministry had sent letters notifying the court of Naseer’s absence from the capital in advance, Judge Didi said he did not accept the justification.
Today’s hearing had been scheduled after the Home Ministry had assured that Naseer will be in Male’ from June 8, Didi said adding that he did not accept Naseer’s absence for an official trip as a sufficient reason for a second absence.
The Home Ministry’s official website has issued statement saying that Naseer will be in the Netherlands until June 16 on an official trip.
During the trip, he will be meeting with OD Security – a company which builds body scanners to combat drugs and terrorism, and the K10 Working Dogs – a canine supplier for global government agencies.
Naseer is also scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi on the trip, where he will be meeting with the United Arab Emirates Minister of Interior Lt General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.