Jailed ex-minister Nazim to travel abroad for treatment

Jailed former defense minister Mohamed Nazim has been authorised to travel overseas for medical treatment for a potentially life threatening condition.

He will be allowed to leave the country for a set period of time, a media official from the Maldives Correctional Service said.

However, the jailed politician’s family said they had not yet been told about his permission to leave.

“The family has not been officially informed of the [authorisation] to leave the country. We are working on it,” said Adam Azim, Nazim’s brother.

The family declined to reveal details of Nazim’s medical condition, but said it needs to be monitored and treated.

“We are very concerned. But the government doesn’t seem to feel any urgency at all,” he said.

Nazim was arrested and fired from the cabinet in January after police found a gun during a controversial raid on his home, and in March was handed an 11-year jail sentence for smuggling illegal weapons.

After the midnight police raid in January, officers said they had confiscated a pistol, bullets and a pen drive containing information that Nazim was plotting a coup d’etat and planning to harm the president, police commissioner and tourism minister.

Nazim says the items were planted, and the opposition has been campaigning for his release.

He requested permission to travel overseas three weeks ago after his doctor advised him to undergo some tests unavailable in the Maldives.

Nazim’s lawyers are meanwhile compiling their appeal against his sentence.

“Lawyers are working on the appeal round the clock, listening to recordings, and hoping to file by Thursday or Sunday,” said Azim.

The correctional service said Nazim’s family would need to notify them of which country he plans to travel to so that they can check it is a country approved for Maldivian prisoner visits.

No prison guards will travel with him, but the correctional service and a guardian from the family will come to an agreement under which the guardian will be responsible for the inmate.

The spokesman said that inmates are usually allotted three months for overseas treatment, but that the medical board can extend the period if treatment is taking longer.

Nazim’s family had a monthly visit with him on Monday at Humafushi jail for two hours and reported he was in “high spirits”.