Man sentenced to life in prison over 1kg cannabis

The criminal court has sentenced a 46-year-old man to life in jail and handed a MVR100,000 fine over one kilogram of cannabis.

Ali Imran, of Coconut House in Malé, was caught with 1131.2 grams of cannabis in November 2012.

Police apprehended Imran at Malé’s commercial harbour for suspicious behaviour and found the drugs hidden under the seat of his motorcycle. At the time, police had received information a cargo boat traveling from India was carrying illicit drugs.

When Imran’s house was searched, police found MVR134,050, US$2200 and 21 diamond stones and four precious stones inside a safe. He had another MVR461,948.26 in an HSBC account.

The criminal court has ordered the state to confiscate the money and the precious stones, stating Imran had not explained how he had obtained the money.


Jabir’s legal team ask court to determine ways jailed MP can campaign

The wife of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir has today submitted a legal issue to the High Court arguing that the recently jailed MP has a right to campaign for next month’s Majlis elections.

Jabir is currently serving a one year jail sentence after being found guilty of declining to provide a urine sample for police to run a drug test.

Speaking to Minivan News today Dhiyana Saeed said that Article 73 of the constitution, which details persons who cannot qualify as Majlis candidates, states that a person serving a jail term of less than 12 months is still qualified.

“If the constitution states that a person serving a jail term less than 12 months will be able to contest in the election then that person should not be suspended from obtaining his electoral rights,’’ she said. “If he is able to contest then he must also be able to campaign.”

Dhiyana – herself a former attorney general and SAARC secretary general – said that the High Court should allow the MP to make phone calls and talk to constituents at a time determined by the court, or he should be allowed to visit a campaign office at a time determined by the court.

Dhiyana noted that when the Elections Act was enacted in 2008, the Jumhooree Party filed a court case claiming that the act’s ruling that prisoners are not able to vote was inconsistent with the constitution.

The High Court subsequently ruled that that article was void and that inmates should have the right to vote.

“So this is the other side of that right, that time it was the right of the persons voting and this time it is the right of the candidate,’’ she said.

Dhiyana revealed that the High Court has said it will decide on accepting the issue and inform her this afternoon.

“If the High Court does not accept this case then we will try filing it with the Civil Court as a civil right issue,’’ she added.

On February 20, 2014, the Criminal Court found Abdulla Jabir guilty of refusing to provide his urine sample to the police to run a drug test, and sentenced him to twelve months under the 2011 Drug Act.

On November 16, 2012, Jabir was arrested along with other high profile MDP members on suspicion that they were in possession and under the influence of alcohol and cannabis from Jabir’s uninhabited island Hondaidhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll.

The prosecutor general pressed three charges against Jabir – one for the charge of declining to provide a urine sample to police,  a second charge for making cannabis transactions, and a third for possession of alcohol.

Last month, the Criminal Court found Jabir guilty of declining to provide urine sample and the MP was taken into custody. Last week, however, the court ruled that the state was not able to prove that Jabir had made any transactions involving cannabis. The alcohol possession case is ongoing.

Jabir’s legal team has claimed the first trial contravened the MP’s constitutional rights as well as the principles of natural justice.

“The number of procedural violations in the whole criminal justice process in regard to this case is highly concerning and we believe that Hon. Abdullah Jabir was denied the fundamental rights that constitutes a free and fair hearing guaranteed to him by Article 42 of the Constitution,” read a press release from Aequitas Legal Consultants last week.

Last month a house in Malé owned by the MP was raided by police, with three men were arrested and drugs and alcohol were seized, though it was reported that Jabir does not live in the building.


Man handed life sentence over 227.4 grams of cannabis

The Criminal Court has sentenced a man to life in jail for the possession of 227.4 grams of cannabis.

The police arrested Mohamed Naif in Hulhumalé in March 2013 near the ferry terminal. On sighting the police at the terminal, Naif had run rom the police and had thrown away a plastic bag containing cannabis, the police told the Criminal Court.

The court has also ordered Naif to pay a fine of MVR100,000 (US$6485) within a month.


MDP Spokesperson charged for refusing to give urine sample to police

The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has charged Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor for refusing to give a urine sample to police in a case last year in which a group of MDP politicians were arrested on an uninhabited island and charged with alcohol and drug possession.

The PGO’s lawyers told the Criminal Court that Ghafoor was arrested on November 16 last year in connection with a drugs case, and said he had refused to give a urine sample and had therefore violated the Drug Act.

Ghafoor’s lawyer told the court that she could only respond to the charges on behalf of her client after receiving the relevant documents. The presiding judge, Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, told her these would be provided and scheduled the next hearing for October 9.

Ghafoor was arrested yesterday (September 30) in the afternoon ahead of his court hearing. He was released following the hearing.

Ghafoor is also accused in another case before the court concerning possession and consumption of alcohol and cannabis.

A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on 16 November 2012 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.

On 22 August 2013, criminal court media official Ahmed Mohamed Manik confirmed the PG had charged MDP MP Abdulla Jabir, Ghafoor, and Jadhulla Jameel with smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming it, as well as possession of cannabis and objecting to urine testing.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza were also charged for objecting to take urine tests, said Manik.

Two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk, as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana, were also taken into custody following the island raid. Their cases have not been filed at the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office.

According to the Drug Act, Sections 123(a), 161(a), and 161(b), any person arrested on suspicion of having abused alcohol or narcotics has an obligation to comply with police requests for routine urine examination by promptly providing urine samples, and failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable by a one year jail sentence.

Additionally, the son of Nasheed’s former special envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki,  has been charged for trafficking illegal drugs into the country – the penalty for which is 25 years and a fine of up to MVR 10 million (US$650,000).


Police present MDP MP Jabir to Criminal Court for alcohol raid trial

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir was presented to the Criminal Court by police today, after being kept in custody since Tuesday (September 10) ahead of his trial for alleged possession of alcohol and cannabis.

Jabir and fellow MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor are among several senior party figures charged with drug and alcohol offences, after being arrested on on Hondaidhoo Island in November whilst allegedly under the influence of illegal substances.

While Jabir at the time of his arrest was a member of the Jumhoree Party (JP) – he later defected to the opposition – the MDP has maintained that his arrest was politically motivated to coincide with a no confidence motion at the time against senior government figures.

The MDP has alleged that the treatment of its MPs, including, Jabir was noticeably different to those of other parties currently aligned to the present government, accusing prosecutors of persecuting its members and supporters.

The trial began earlier this month, with Ghafoor being the only MP in attendance to hear charges against him concerning the case.

A total of 10 people taken into police custody on November 16 after officers obtain a warrant to search the island of Hondaidhoo.

Today’s hearing

Criminal Court Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik said state prosecutors during the hearing read out a list of charges against Jabir. The MDP MP will be given a chance to respond to these charges against him at the next hearing, Manik added.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed to Minivan News that Jabir had been held in police custody ahead of the hearing, under an order previously issued by the Criminal Court. Police did not provide any further details on where the MP had been detained.

Jabir earlier this week had his passport held by immigration officials when trying to leave the country, after previously failing to attend the opening hearing of the trial into the charges against him.

Explaining the absence, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy ‘Inthi’ told Minivan News he understood Jabir had not received a summons from the Criminal Court to attend the trial, but would have attended if having done so.

“He has been away from Male’ campaigning [for the presidential election held on September 7] and had not therefore received a summons,” he said, accusing the country’s courts of purposefully scheduling hearings against MDP MPs to try and stymie the party’s election campaign.

Fahmy additionally claimed that the Criminal Court had failed to follow its own procedures, and that a summons had to be re-sent if not received by the individual in question.

By comparison, he alleged that Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP and Deputy Speak of Parliament Ahmed Nazim had failed to respond to 12 summons without arrest in relation to his trial for fraud – charges which he was later acquitted of. That case is now the subject of an ongoing High Court appeal.

Fahmy said although the MDP had not been requested to provide a lawyer for Jabir, the party would be ready to provide assistance to him in what it continues to allege is a “politically motivated” arrest.

Fahmy also alleged that the judiciary was seeking to fast track cases against MDP members to hinder the party and its campaigning ahead of a run-off vote scheduled for September 28.

He himself is currently facing a charge of “disobeying orders” over allegedly contemptuous remarks he made against the judiciary during a television show.

Fahmy argued that Jabir, along with Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and the son of the former President Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki, were on a “private island” when they arrested by police officers, who he alleged beat and then arrested them.

“This all happened at the time of a no confidence motion against Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim and is a clear attempt at intimidation,” claimed Fahmy.

He said that the arrest was against Majlis regulations that say an MP could not be arrested at the time of a no confidence vote.

The no confidence vote had been scheduled for April 8, but was postponed after MDP MPs objected to a decision to not hold the vote in secret despite a parliamentary decision approving a secret ballot.

Previous MP liquor cases

Police last year forwarded a case for prosecution against MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, after a bottle of alcohol was allegedly found in his luggage in March 2012 upon his return to the Maldives after an overseas trip.

The bottle was allegedly discovered when his luggage was screened.

Shiyam is the head of the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), a new party allied with the Progressive Party of the Maldives and its bid for the presidency on September 28.

Newspaper Haveeru reported on September 3 this year that the case was sent back to police by the Prosecutor General’s Office in August 2012 to clarify further information.

Police have yet to send the case to the PG office over a year later.

The penalty for alcohol possession in the penal code is either a fine of between MVR1,000 to MVR3,000 or imprisonment, banishment or house arrest between one to three years.


Criminal Court issues three year jail sentence for cannabis use

A young man has been sentenced to three years in prison for using cannabis, reports local media.

The 19 year-old Male’ resident was arrested in April 2013 in Male’s Mahchangolhi ward on suspicion of having used drugs.

The young man confessed in court that he was on drugs at the time of his arrest, which was confirmed by drug tests conducted during the investigation that were positive for cannabis, the Criminal Court said during sentencing.


Police arrest Maldivian, Russian for possession of two cannabis plants

Police have arrested two people in connection with the discovery of two cannabis plants inside an apartment on Hulhumale’.

In a statement police said the plants were confiscated during a special operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) on Saturday afternoon.

According to police the two plants were found inside Hulhumale’ flat number 10219.

Police stated that the two plants were kept inside a bucket on the balcony of the apartment.

A 26 year-old Maldivian man and a 31 year-old Russian woman were arrested in connection with the case, police said.


Court sentences Humam for six years on charges of using cannabis

Criminal Court has sentenced Hussain Humam of Henveiru Lobby House, who was arrested in connection with the murder of late MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, to six years’ imprisonment on two counts of using cannabis.

The Criminal Court ruling stated that in May last year Humam was arrested by a patrolling officer on suspicious of being intoxicated. Police officers tested his urine which was tested positive for cannabis, police said.

The court said that Humam has confessed in court to using cannabis.

The Court said that in October 2012, Humam was arrested while he was near Jalapeno Restaurant on suspicion that he was intoxicated.

Humam was brought to Male’ Custodial by patrolling officers and his urine tested positive to cannabis,\, the criminal court said.

According to the Criminal Court, Humam  confessed to using cannabis in the court during the trial.

Last month the Criminal Court sentenced Humam to one year imprisonment after the court found him guilty of refusing to provide a urine sample for a drug test.

The Court said Humam has violated the 17/2011 Drug Act’s article 113[a] and was therefore sentenced under 113[b] of the Drug Act.

The trial of Dr Afrasheem’s murder case is still going on in the Criminal Court. Humam is the only person to be charged in the case.

Humam is also charged in another case for allegedly attacking a police officer. He has denied the charges in court.


Criminal Court sentence drug lord to 25 years for trafficking cannabis

The Criminal Court has sentenced 43 year-old Ahmed Rasheed, of Always Happy House in Male’, to 25 years in prison after finding him guilty of trafficking cannabis into the Maldives.

Rasheed was arrested by police in May 2012 during a police effort to uncover a drug network operating in the Maldives.

The court said police arrested Rasheed on May 2, 2012, at 7:15 pm in an operation conducted following intelligence that Rasheed was in possession of drugs.

According to the Criminal Court, police located Rasheed inside a teashop called ‘Sai Hotaa’. When Rasheed saw the police officers, he pulled out a plastic can that contained illegal drugs and threw it away.

The Criminal Court said that an additional eight cans and a plastic bag containing illegal drugs were discovered inside a locker belonging to Rasheed.

The court said a total of 1152.51 grams of cannabis were discovered.

The Criminal Court has also fined Rasheed MVR 100,000 (US$6500) and ordered him to pay it within a month.

The Police Drug Enforcement Department (DED) busted the large drug network they allege revolved around a 56 year-old man working on the cargo vessel ‘MV Reina’ in May 2012.

The main suspect in the case was arrested when he arrived to the Maldives from Tuticorin in India.