EC rejects Jabir’s arguments for annulment of Kaashidhoo poll

The Elections Commission (EC) has responded to accusations made in the ongoing trial of the case filed by Maldivian Democratic Party MP Abdulla Jabir who lost his seat in the recent parliamentary elections.

In the High Court, Jabir has requested the invalidation of the result on the grounds that he was restrained from the right to campaign, and that the ballot box kept in the island of Gaafaru was not closed on time.

Jabir has also claimed that Home Minister Umar Naseer made comments that influenced the elections by saying he would very soon establish a prison in Jabir’s constituency of Kaashidhoo, and that Jabir – currently serving a twelve month jail sentence – would be transferred to that prison.

EC lawyer and former Attorney General Husnu Suood told the court that Jabir was in prison as a result of his own actions and that there was nothing that commission could do to solve this issue.

Suood told the court that every candidate has a representative, the purpose of which was to assist the candidate in such situations, and that the commission believes Jabir lost the right to campaign when incarcerated for a failure to provide a urine sample to police.

Furthermore, Suood pointed out that the ballot box in Gaafaru was closed later than the other boxes because the box had been opened later than others on the day of voting.

According to local media, Jabir presented the names of 36 persons to support his argument in the court as well as the audio recording of Umar Naseer’s remarks on establishing a prison in Kaashidhoo.

The decision to build an open prison on the island of Kaashidhoo was first announced by the Home Ministy in September last year, two months prior to Umar Naseer’s appointment as home minister.

In February, the Criminal Court sentenced Jabir to one year in prison after the court found him guilty of refusing to provide a urine sample to police after his arrest on the private island of Hondaidhoo in November 2012.

The Prosecutor General also charged Jabir for possession of cannabis before the court ruled that there was not enough evidence to find him guilty.

Jabir’s trial on alcohol possession charges – also stemming from the Hondaidhoo incident – was postponed last week after the MP was hospitalised with breathing difficulties.

In an interview with Vnews today, Jabir’s wife Dhiyana Saeed has said her husband had been in hospital since April 8, revealing that doctors asked to bring a bilevel positive airway pressure machine from Singapore.

Dhiyana also told the news outlet that doctors had informed her that Jabir’s breathing stops four times every hour.

She said that doctors had not recommended taking Jabir abroad for medical treatment, and that his medical reports were being sent directly to the Maldives Correctional Services.