The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has charged Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor for refusing to give a urine sample to police in a case last year in which a group of MDP politicians were arrested on an uninhabited island and charged with alcohol and drug possession.
The PGO’s lawyers told the Criminal Court that Ghafoor was arrested on November 16 last year in connection with a drugs case, and said he had refused to give a urine sample and had therefore violated the Drug Act.
Ghafoor’s lawyer told the court that she could only respond to the charges on behalf of her client after receiving the relevant documents. The presiding judge, Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, told her these would be provided and scheduled the next hearing for October 9.
Ghafoor was arrested yesterday (September 30) in the afternoon ahead of his court hearing. He was released following the hearing.
Ghafoor is also accused in another case before the court concerning possession and consumption of alcohol and cannabis.
A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on 16 November 2012 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.
On 22 August 2013, criminal court media official Ahmed Mohamed Manik confirmed the PG had charged MDP MP Abdulla Jabir, Ghafoor, and Jadhulla Jameel with smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming it, as well as possession of cannabis and objecting to urine testing.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza were also charged for objecting to take urine tests, said Manik.
Two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk, as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana, were also taken into custody following the island raid. Their cases have not been filed at the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office.
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 by a one year jail sentence.
Additionally, the son of Nasheed’s former special envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki, has been charged for trafficking illegal drugs into the country – the penalty for which is 25 years and a fine of up to MVR 10 million (US$650,000).