Police do not have forensic evidence to support possession of dangerous weapons charges against former Defense Minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, his legal team has claimed.
Maumoon Hameed told media last night (February 15) that the police were unable to provide any forensic evidence at Nazim’s remand hearing, despite both Nazim and his family having previously provided fingerprints and DNA samples.
“In 2013, the police spoke to the media and said that they are capable of processing 600 fingerprints per hour. What is taking them so long to process Nazim, his wife, two kids’ and their maid’s fingerprint samples?” asked Hameed.
After his arrest on February 10, Nazim was given 15 days of remand detention by the Criminal Court. Police had raided the apartment on January 18, later claiming to have found a pistol, three bullets, and an improvised explosive device.
Additionally, a pen drive was said to have been found containing evidence of an attempt to harm senior government officials, in what the police have said was a plan to overthrow the government.
Posters have since appeared around Malé City with the slogan ‘Free Nazim Now’, while several prominent politicians as well as Amnesty International have expressed concern over his sudden arrest.
“The day before yesterday the defense minister was hailed and deemed trustworthy,” said Maldivian Democratic Party Chairperson Ali Waheed speaking at a protest last week. “Now he is in a jail cell accused of crimes of a magnitude never seen before in Maldives”.
Nazim’s legal team said last night that the High Court has accepted two appeal cases filed by the legal team – one appealing Nazim’s arrest, with the second case appealing Criminal Court’s remand sentence.
The team has also announced that a defamation case had been submitted against the Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed for telling the press on January 29 that an explosive device was found during the raid.
The High Court appeal hearing is scheduled for 1.45pm today (February 16).
The legal team had previously claimed that the items found at Nazim’s house were planted by the Police, saying that officers spent 10 minutes inside Nazim’s bedroom unsupervised before the search began. Police have called the claims “untrue” and “baseless”.
Hameed also informed the media last night that the police had not responded to requests to share evidence against Nazim in order to allow the preparation of his defense, or for the items allegedly confiscated from his house to be investigated by an independent commission.
Also speaking at yesterday’s press conference, former Police Commissioner and member of Nazim’s defence Abdulla Riyaz reiterated his belief that some officers are following unlawful orders from politicians.
“I am saying this as an individual who has served at the institution for over 20 years, no police officers should act in an unjust manner towards any individual,” said Riyaz.
The former police commissioner also highlighted issues with the search, saying that the police had not followed due procedures – claims the police have also denied repeatedly
“When conducting high profile searches, the Police always films the search,” said Riyaz. “However we have not been provided with a video footage of the search as of yet.”
Additionally, Riyaz suggested that if the police had found an improvised explosive device at his home, the area should have been evacuated, and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and the fire and rescue services informed.
The MNDF yesterday said that it would begin providing security for Riyaz after an official request for protection last week.
“People are following me everywhere I go. I feel somewhat threatened. I have requested for security but MNDF are yet to grant me security,” Riyaz told Minivan News yesterday.
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