The High Court has upheld the Criminal Court’s decision to hold former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim in remand custody for 15 days.
Nazim was arrested on February 10 on charges of treason and terrorism after police discovered a pistol and bullets during a midnight raid at the then-defence minister’s apartment on January 18.
Following the Criminal Court’s extension of his remand detention, Nazim’s legal team appealed the decision at the High Court.
“The High Court ruled that the decision by the Criminal Court to remand Nazim in custody is justified,” Maumoon Hameed, head of the legal team, told the press after today’s hearing.
“From Nazim’s side we are now working to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court next week.”
Nazim’s defense team argued in the appeal court that there was no substantial evidence to keep the retired colonel in pre-trial detention in accordance with the constitution, contending that the Criminal Court’s arrest warrant violated precedents set by both the High Court and Supreme Court.
The lawyers also argued that the Maldives Police Services has made inconsistent statements, noting that the police had claimed that the investigation was still ongoing after previously declaring that it had been concluded.
Supporters of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) alliance demonstrated outside the court as the hearing proceeded.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed and JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim have repeatedly called for Nazim’s immediate release from custody, accusing the government of “framing” the former minister.
Nazim is accused of plotting a coup and planning to harm senior government officials.
Nazim’s defense team has since submitted a complaint to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and filed a defamation case against Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed in the Civil Court.
While police claimed to have found an improvised explosive device (IED) at Nazim’s apartment, the former minister’s lawyers have dismissed the allegations, insisting that police also planted the pistol and bullets.
Two days after the 3:00am raid on his residence, Nazim declared that “no citizen has security” under President Abdulla Yameen’s rule. Since his arrest and dismissal from the cabinet, Nazim has also left the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).
Nazim faces a jail term between ten and 15 years if he is found guilty of terrorism.
Meanwhile, the allied opposition parties have accused the PPM government of authoritarianism, harassing political rivals and repeatedly violating the constitution by unlawfully dismissing the Auditor General and two Supreme Court judges.
On February 11, the MDP and JP launched nightly protests “in defence of the constitution” as the judiciary moved to resume a trial against former President Nasheed.
The MDP and JP have also condemned the government’s alleged economic sanctions against JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim after the tourism ministry annulled lease agreements of three uninhibited islands and three lagoons.
The properties were reportedly given to Gasim’s Villa Group under a settlement agreement when Kaadehdhoo Airport and some uninhibited islands were taken from the company and nationalised.
However, the PPM maintains the opposition has failed to demonstrate how the government had breached the constitution and were only attempting to disrupt public order.
“This party believes these protests are aimed at obstructing President Yameen’s administration’s successful work at establishing peace and security. [The opposition] is disrupting the economic, social and political order in the country,” the PPM said in a press statement today.
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