Jailed ex-defense minister brought to Malé for medical treatment

Imprisoned former defence minister Mohamed Nazim was brought to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Malé for a doctor’s appointment this morning.

Rumors swirled in Malé that the retired colonel’s 11 year jail-term may be commuted to house arrest, as part of ongoing negotiations between the opposition and the government.

However, Nazim’s brother Adam Azim told Minivan News that Nazim was taken back to the low-security ‘Asseyri’ jail in Himmafaushi after his consultation at 10:30 with an eye doctor.

Azim said his brother had numerous rashes and damaged skins as his cell was infested with mosquitos.

The family had submitted complaint forms to the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS), Azim said, and the jail has since been fogged.

Nazim was found guilty of weapons smuggling and sentenced to 11 years in prison in March. The former defence minister maintains he was framed by rogue police officers who planted a pistol and three bullets in his apartment during a midnight raid.

MCS media official Moosa Rameez told Minivan News that complaints submitted on behalf of inmates will only be sent to the head office if it was “a concerning issue.”

Earlier this month, Nazim’s family requested his transfer from jail to house arrest. Nazim had also appealed the 11-year sentence at the High Court, but the appeal was was stalled after the Supreme Court suddenly transferred two judges on the five-judge-panel to a newly created appellate branch in the south.

Nazim’s trial at the criminal court was widely criticised over apparent lack of due process and coincided with the terrorism trial of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in jail over the military detention of a judge during his tenure.

The pair’s imprisonment sparked a six-month long political crisis with daily protests.

With mounting diplomatic pressure, Nasheed was transferred to house arrest in late June. The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has since been engaged in talks with the government and has expressed hope that jailed politicians could be released ahead of July 26 when the Maldives marks 50 years of independence.


Civil Court rejects Nazim’s defamation case against police chief

The Civil Court has rejected a defamation case filed on behalf of former Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim against Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed.

Briefing the press today on the status of several cases relating to Nazim’s arrest and prosecution on charges of weapons possession, terrorism and treason, Hameed revealed that the Civil Court refused to accept the defamation case on the grounds that the police chief has legal immunity for statements made in his official capacity.

Nazim’s lawyers sued Waheed for telling the press on January 29 that an improvised explosive device was found in Nazim’s home.

Hameed said at the time that the explosive device had not been found during the initial search, and was not listed in a record of items found, explaining that police only announced its discovery days later after an analysis conducted without independent oversight.

The legal team would request a review of the Civil Court registrar’s decision, Hameed told the press today, contending that the immunity was specified in a regulation pre-dating both the 2008 constitution and the Police Act.

The legal team was also awaiting replies from the Civil Court regarding lawsuits against Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin for alleged violations of Nazim’s constitutional rights and “malicious prosecution” of his wife, Afaaf Abdul Majeed.

The PG office withdrew charges of weapons possession against Afaaf on February 25.

Afaaf has also sued PG Muhsin for defamation.

Hameed also revealed that the PG office yesterday declined to provide information requested under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. The legal team has subsequently filed a case against the PG office at the Civil Court.

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) has meanwhile met Nazim today to seek a statement for its investigation of a complaint regarding Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed, Hameed noted, adding that the Human Rights Commission of Maldives was also investigating a similar complaint.

The legal team also submitted complaints to the PIC regarding the SWAT team involved in the midnight raid, Hameed said, adding that the PIC has said it was in the process of gathering information in response to a separate FoI request.