The state has today produced three police officers to the Criminal Court as witnesses against Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir, during the hearing of a case in which Jabir faces charges of possession of cannabis.
According to local media present at the trial, Jabir told the court that the three police officers were among the policemen who allegedly brutalised him on the uninhabited picnic island of Hondaidhoo where he was arrested and that the Police Integrity Commission’s (PIC) report on his arrest concluded that police were brutal.
Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, presiding over the case, asked Jabir to submit video footage of the torture to the court.
Jabir’s lawyer argued that the constitution states that any witness or evidence obtained in violation to the laws should not be accepted by the court.
However, the judge replied that the court would decide on accepting the witnesses when delivering the verdict and that the court would hear what the witnesses have to day.
A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on November 16 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.
In August this year, a Criminal Court media official told Minivan News that the PG had charged MDP MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor with smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming alcohol.
Jabir and Hamid were also both charged with objecting to urine testing and possession of cannabis and alcohol.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza were also charged for objecting to take a urine test, said Manik.
Additionally, the son of former President Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki, has been charged for trafficking illegal drugs into the country – the penalty for which is 25 years and can be fined up to MVR10million.
On 24 October, the Criminal Court issued a warrant to arrest and summon Hamid to the court, but the MP took refuge in the parliament building on the same day meaning police were unable to arrest him.
The Criminal Court later sentenced Hamid to six months for failing to produced himself to the court.
The MDP has previously alleged that the government aligned parties were attempting to reverse the MDP’s majority in parliament by using courts that remain under the influence of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as a means to strip the MDP MPs of their seats in parliament.
On October 24, the Supreme Court ruled that MDP MP Ali Azim and MDP-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Mohamed Nashiz were disqualified from the parliament over an unpaid debt.
On November 4, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and prominent lawyer Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed filed a case at the Supreme Court requesting the court disqualify DRP Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from parliament.
Leader of the government-aligned Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) and MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam is also facing alcohol possession charges that – if convicted – would result in the loss of his seat.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union has requested an urgent visit to the Maldives, arriving last week to attempt to build trust between factionalised institutions, whilst the US has expressed concern at reported intimidation,