The Criminal Court has today cancelled an alcohol possession hearing against opposition MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor as Jabir remains in hospital for a second day over respiratory issues.
Jabir who is currently serving a one-year jail sentence for refusal to provide urine was hospitalized at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) on Tuesday morning, but his condition is not serious, the Maldives Correctional Services (MCC) told Minivan News today.
The two Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs were arrested from a private picnic island, Hondaidhoo, in November 2012 on suspicion of alcohol and drug use.
The Prosecutor General’s Office pressed separate charges of refusal to provide urine and alcohol possession against the two MPs. The MDP has said the charges are politically motivated.
Hamid received a police summons on Tuesday requesting him to attend the Criminal Court under a police escort. The hearing at 2:00 pm was cancelled due to Jabir’s inability to attend court.
While Hamid and Jabir faced refusal to provide urine charges separately, the Criminal Court is hearing alcohol possession charges against the two MPs in one case.
A new hearing has been scheduled for April 22. If found guilty, the two MPs may be jailed up to three years.
Speaking to Minivan News before the hearing, Hamid said he had not been told which charges he was to answer to today and expressed concern he may be summarily sentenced.
The Criminal Court in October 2013 sentenced Hamid in absentia to six months in jail for alleged failure to attend court in the refusal to provide urine trial.
The High Court overturned the sentence stating the lower court had scheduled hearings in contravention to the Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act during People’s Majlis work hours.
Hamid’s refusal to provide urine charges are still pending.
Media Official at MCC Moosa Rameez said Jabir’s condition was stable and doctors were keeping him under observation.
Jabir’s wife Dhiyana Saeed told local media the MP had been born with respiratory defects and had undergone several surgeries in the UK and Singapore.
In a text to MDP parliamentary group members, Dhiyana said: “The pulmonologist who saw him says his previous surgeries or severe sleep apnoea has failed and needs to be admitted.”
Sleep apnoea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz, Zaki’s son Hamdhan Zaki and Alidhoo Resort’s General Manager Jadulla Jameel were also arrested along with the two MPs.
The PG has charged Zuhair and his wife with refusal to provide urine, whilst Hamdhan Zaki faces charges of cannabis trafficking. Jameel is charged with alcohol possession and cannabis possession.
The six arrested on Hondaidhoo have accused the police of torture and brutality during their arrest.