Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim’s family has urged the international community to step up pressure on President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, claiming, “there is no hope that Nazim can expect a fair trial” due to a “notoriously politicised judiciary.”
Nazim appeared in court yesterday on charges of illegal weapons possession, allegedly discovered in a bedside drawer during a midnight police raid on January 18.
The former minister was arrested on February 10 on charges of treason and terrorism and has been placed in police custody pending the outcome of a trial.
“Nazim never expected to be where he is now. But he has fallen foul of a political conspiracy, one in which powerful forces within the Maldivian government have sought to destroy him and thus prevent him from challenging for the leadership of the ruling party,” Nazim’s family explained in a letter to the international community.
The letter claimed the pistol and bullets confiscated from Nazim’s apartment had in fact been planted by the police and described charges against the former minister as baseless and politically motivated.
The Maldives Police Services have denied the allegations, insisting police had shown professionalism during the midnight raid.
“As President Yameen’s governing coalition collapses, and amid nightly protests against his rule, the president has resorted to increasingly desperate tactics to remove his political opponents and cling to power,” the statement added.
It went on to note former President Mohamed Nasheed’s sudden terrorism trial and the government’s alleged targeting of opposition Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim’s businesses as examples.
The government has maintained the arrests and charges against Nazim and Nasheed demonstrate “no one is above the law,” and say charges were initiated by an independent Prosecutor General and tried through an impartial judiciary.
Nazim’s lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, yesterday expressed concern over state prosecutors’ filing of confidential documents as evidence against Nazim.
“This is a major obstacle in ensuring a fair trial for Nazim,” he said.
Nazim’s wife, Afaaf Abdul Majeed, had been charged with the possession of illegal weapons, but state prosecutors withdrew charges claiming the documents on a confiscated pen drive brought new information to light.
According to Hameed, Afaaf had not received any indication she was under suspicion prior to the court summons sent on February 23, two days before the first hearing.
In withdrawing charges, lawyers claimed documents in a pen drive confiscated from Nazim’s home indicate he was plotting to harm senior government officials with the financial backing of Villa Group, a company owned by Gasim.
On February 24, Nazim filed civil charges against PG Muhthaz Muhsin, alleging the office had failed to protect the former minister’s constitutional rights.
Nazim’s lawyers on February 12 filed defamation charges at the Civil Court and a complaint at the Police Integrity Commission against the Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed for spreading false information.
Waheed at a press conference following Nazim’s arrest said the police had found an improvised explosive device in a bag confiscated from his apartment.
But lawyers say a police document detailing items confiscated from Nazim’s apartment right after the raid did not list an IED.
Police claim the IED was discovered on further forensic analysis of contents in the black bag. Nazim’s lawyers have requested for an independent forensic test of items on their own expense.
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