The Prosecutor General (PG)’s office has pressed terrorism charges against Abdul Latheef Ibrahim, of Love Side house on the island of Gan in Laamu Atoll, for his alleged involvement in detonating a home-made IED (improvised explosive device) outside Sultan Park in September 2007.
Local media reported the first hearing of the case today, during which Abdul Latheef told the court that he wished to know the evidence against him, and requested time to appoint a lawyer.
The judge told Abdul Latheef that the state would produce evidence after he appointed a lawyer, and concluded the hearing.
On August 8, 2012, Abdul Latheef was arrested upon his arrival to the Maldives on a flight from Pakistan. He was one of 16 men against whom terrorism charges had been filed in relation to the bombing. Ten of these men fled the country, while three were sentenced to an initial 15 years before having their sentences commuted to three year suspended sentences.
The bomb blast in Sultan Park – a tourist attraction in the capital located in front of the Islamic Centre – consisted of a washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder, and was triggered using a mobile phone.
The attack injured 12 tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The incident received widespread publicity around the world, damaging the country’s image as a luxury tourism destination.
The attack meanwhile prompted the authorities to declare a state of emergency and arrest 12 suspects within 48 hours.
Three men – Mohamed Sobah, 19, Moosa Inaz, 21, and Ahmed Naseer, 20 – were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in December 2007 after they confessed to the crime.
In August 2010, the former administration commuted the sentences of Ahmed Naseer and Mohamed Sobah from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under observation.
The bomb blast was the first bombing incident in the country.