Home minister Umar Naseer has advised former president Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyers not to use their visits to “entertain” the imprisoned opposition leader.
In a letter to Nasheed’s attorney, Hassan Latheef, the home minister said that the legal team was “having fun, laughing and joking, and entertaining him” during daily visits to the Maafushi jail.
“I advise you to make proper use of the opportunity to meet lawyers,” Naseer stated.
The letter was dated May 3, but the legal team said it was only delivered yesterday.
Nasheed is serving a 13-year jail sentence following his conviction on terrorism charges on March 13 over the detention of a judge during his tenure. The 19-day trial was widely criticised by foreign governments, the UN, and international human rights organisations over its apparent lack of due process.
In a tweet last night, Latheef called Naseer’s letter “insane.”
“Stupidity to the max!” the former labour minister tweeted.
— Hassan Latheef (@HassanLatheef) May 24, 2015
Latheef told Minivan News that Naseer did not have the authority to “determine whether we can laugh or not.”
The consultations with Nasheed were “none of Naseer’s business,” he continued and expressed concern with the home minister’s knowledge of confidential meetings between lawyers and a client.
“We fear that the meeting areas may be bugged,” he said.
Latheef said the legal team was only allowed to meet Nasheed once a week for two hours, which poses difficulties as the lawyers were also communicating with the former president’s international legal team and providing documentation.
The lawyers were able to meet other clients on any day at their convenience, he continued, but visits to Nasheed were authorised under strict supervision of the home minister.
In his reply to the home minister – shared on social media today – Latheef said the legal team’s efforts are intended to “save” the former president from the jail sentence and prove his innocence.
“As such, a case has been filed at the UN working group of arbitrary detention,” Latheef noted.
Former first lady Laila Ali lodged the petition last month requesting a judgment declaring Nasheed’s detention arbitrary and illegal.
Latheef said the conduct of the criminal court judges and proceedings at the court were amusing.
“Therefore, laughing at times while talking about the case is only natural,” Latheef wrote.
Latheef urged the home minister not to use his complaints “as an excuse” to narrow or deny the former president his constitutional right to legal representation.