Verdict in ‘airport protest’ delayed to August 6

The criminal court has postponed the sentencing of 15 opposition supporters accused of protesting at the main international airport to August 6.

A sentence was expected on June 14, but the court delayed the hearing after presiding judge Sujau Usman was promoted to the High Court last week.

If the sitting judge in a case leaves the court, the case is immediately referred to the Chief Judge, who then has to allocate another judge to oversee the case.

“We still don’t know if a new judge has been allocated to the case. Even then, the new judge cannot immediately issue the sentence. He has to hear the case again,” said lawyer Nazim Sattar.

Some 14 women and one man are being charged with disobedience to order, after they were arrested carrying posters of imprisoned ex-president Mohamed Nasheed at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in March.

The 15 belong to the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The Freedom of Assembly Act prohibits protests at airports and carries a MVR150 (US$10) fine, or six months in jail, house arrest or banishment.

Nazim contends the group’s actions do not constitute a protest.

“State witnesses include testimonies from the police officers who arrested the individuals. How can that be used to prove they were protesting?” Nazim questioned.

Malé City deputy mayor Shifa Mohamed and MDP women’s wing vice president Shaneez “Thanie” Saeed are among the defendants.

The criminal court had previously conditioned the group’s release from remand detention on avoiding protests. The High Court later said the court’s conditions are unconstitutional.

Shifa has previously accused the criminal court of misconduct and bias in the treatment of those arrested at protests, and said that the individuals are being punished for the same crime twice with the 60 day protest ban.

Judge Usman sat on the three-judge panel that sentenced ex-president Nasheed to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges. The trial was widely criticised for apparent lack of due process.


Government should initiate discussions or face consequences, warns opposition

The government should initiate dialogue with the opposition or face the consequences, leaders of the “Maldivians against brutality” opposition alliance have warned.

The alliance – which was formed after the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) accepted an invitation from religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) to form a united front against the government – officially launched activities last night with a 1,000-strong protest march in the capital Malé.

“It is the government that has to come to the discussion table now. When we previously showed a good example, the government did not accept it,” said MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed.

President Abdulla Yameen had previously denied requests by the MDP and Jumhooree Party (JP) alliance to hold discussions over 13 demands issued at a mass rally on February 27.

Last night’s march began near the artificial beach and ended shortly before midnight with protesters gathered at the Chandhanee Magu-Majeedhee Magu junction.

“If [President Yameen] does not come to the [negotation] table, I would say he won’t have any other choice but to go home,” said JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim.

The JP has not officially joined the new alliance, but its senior leaders are represented at the alliance’s steering committee and took part in last night’s protest march.

Ameen contended that the Maldives’ reputation has been tarnished and credibility lost after President Yameen gathered all powers of the state to himself.

Moreover, the public has lost confidence in both the judiciary and the security services following the conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges and the ongoing trial of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim on charges of weapons possession.

AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla meanwhile insisted that Nazim was framed by “high ranking officials by the government.”

“Even though it could not be proven at court, we told Yameen that we have enough evidence to prove that Nazim was being framed and that the president knew about this. However, he denied any knowledge of the case,” Imran said.

He further claimed that the pen drive found at Nazim’s house contained the names of 26 political opponents of President Yameen, whom the government was planning to prosecute and jail.

Former State Trading Organisation (STO) Managing Director Adam Azim – brother of the former defence minister – and former ruling party MP Ahmed Mahloof also took part in the protest march, with the latter acting as the flag bearer at the front.


Photo from social media
Photo from social media

Imran also declared that the opposition would no longer tolerate President Yameen’s “brutality,” Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb’s alleged rampant corruption, unfair prosecution of political rivals, and “destruction of public property”.

The opposition would endure and overcome the government’s “brutality,” he said, adding that the opposition alliance would “not step back once inch” before reaching its goal.



Defence ministry coordinator quits in protest of government’s “brutality”

Defence Ministry Coordinator Mohamed Mushrif has resigned in protest of the government’s “brutality,” stating he fears to remain in the post.

In a letter addressed to President Abdulla Yameen – shared on social media – Mushrif contended that the prosecution of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was unfair and politically motivated.

“As I do not believe that the trial of former president was a fair trial free of undue influence, and as I believe that remaining in a post under this government is frightening, I intend to resign from my post,” he wrote.

Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism charges on Friday night (March 13) and sentenced to 13 years in jail over the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Nazim is meanwhile accused of conspiring to attack President Abdulla Yameen, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb and Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed. The retired colonel was sacked from the cabinet after police allegedly discovered a pistol and three bullets in his apartment during a midnight raid on January 18.

“The police broke down the door of Nazim’s house in the middle of the night and scared his wife and children as if it was a terrorist attack,” Mushrif’s letter stated.

“And that is not all. A bogus charge was filed against Nasheed through the Prosecutor General and he was sentenced illegally.”

Mushrif had also served under former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and was appointed the defence ministry’s coordinator by President Yameen as a political appointee.

Mushrif also objected to the dismissal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim last year.

The pair were dismissed by the pro-government majority in parliament through amendments, respectively, to the Judicature Act and Auditor General’s Act, which reduced the Supreme Court bench from seven to five justices and required the president to appoint a new auditor general.

Moreover, the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed – whose sex tapes with three prostitutes in a Sri Lankan hotel room were leaked online in 2013 – as chair of the Judicial Service Commission showed the president’s view of fairness and justice, Mushrif wrote.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Luthfy, human rights envoy of the Maldives government to the United Nations permanent mission to the Geneva, also resigned recently citing similar reasons.

Luthfy has since claimed to have knowledge of the government’s alleged close connection with criminal gangs in the country. He has also accused senior government officials of corruption.

“Having personally witnessed the leadership’s strong connections with violent criminals and gangs, long back I decided to distance myself,” Luthfy tweeted.

“HEP Yameen, sir, I kindly request you to return to the constitution and pursue peace for the general welfare of all without distinction,” read another tweet.


Related to this story:

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Fingerprint on confiscated pistol did not match Nazim’s, lawyers reveal

No hope for fair trial, says former defense minister’s family


Ex-defence minister “plotted to attack” president, police chief, tourism minister

Former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim plotted to attack President Abdulla Yameen, state prosecutors have claimed.

Revealing confidential plans in a pen drive allegedly confiscated along with a pistol and three bullets from Nazim’s home on January 18, state prosecutors said the retired colonel had also planned to attack Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

The Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office had previously submitted the plans as confidential documents in a weapons smuggling charge against Nazim.

The plans demonstrated Nazim had the “motive and character” to use the pistol and bullets, state prosecutor Adam Arif told the Criminal Court today.

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed maintains rogue police officers planted the weapons at the former defence minister’s apartment in a conspiracy engineered by Tourism Minister Adeeb.

Defence lawyers today named President Yameen, Commissioner Waheed, Chief of Defence Forces Major General Ahmed Shiyam, Home Minister Umar Naseer and several senior ranking police and military officers as witnesses.

The Criminal Court adjourned today’s hearing stating the court would decide whether to summon defence witnesses only if they appear to negate the prosecution’s evidence.

Pen drive


Following the January 18 weapons find, Nazim was dismissed from his ministerial post. Two weeks later, on February 10, he was arrested on additional charges of terrorism and treason. At the time, the police accused Nazim of plotting a coup and planning to harm senior government officials.

On February 24, at the first hearing of the trial on weapons possession, Arif revealed Nazim’s alleged plot to harm officials was to be financed by Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group.

The documents were to be kept confidential, but Arif today revealed further details, alleging a man named Riyaz was also involved in financing Nazim’s alleged plans.

Another individual identified as FA was to secure international assistance from Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok, while another identified as “Bodu Boalha” [Big Ball] was to import weapons into the country, Arif said.

The documents also contained an escape plan, and listed the state wholesaler State Trading Organisation (STO) as an additional resource.

Nazim’s brother Adam Azim had been STO’s Managing Director up until his dismissal on Tuesday.

The state prosecutor also said the documents revealed that Nazim had engineered December’s water crisis in Malé when a fire at the water plant had left over 150,000 people in the capital without water for two weeks.

Nazim had also attempted to influence three Majlis votes, the prosecution said, which included the no-confidence vote against former Health Minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela, the vote to appoint a new Prosecutor General, and the vote to reduce the Supreme Court bench.

Defence witnesses


Nazim has named President Yameen as a witness in order to prove Home Minister Naseer had notified the president of Adeeb’s alleged threat to “destroy” Nazim, defence lawyers said.

On March 7, Hameed claimed Adeeb framed Nazim after the former defence minister alerted Yameen of the tourism minister using SO SWAT officers to commit criminal acts, including the chopping down of all of Malé City’s Areca palms in October last year.

Defence lawyers have also called Superintendent of Police Ahmed Nafiz and former head of police’s intelligence directorate Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed to prove a complaint was lodged over SO officer’s alleged criminal activities, and that SO officers had engaged in criminal activity.

The defence has also called senior ranking police and military officers to prove:

  • a Special Protection Group Corporal had lost a 9mm Browning pistol at Shangri-La resort in 2014
  • weapons are routinely imported into the Maldives illegally and used illegally
  • police officers did not follow due process in raiding and searching Nazim’s residence
  • police intelligence had not received any information that illegal weapons were smuggled into Malé prior to the raid

The tourism minister has previously said he was “shocked” by the allegations, and dismissed them as lies.

Related to this story

Adeeb framed Nazim after fallout over Malé City’s Areca palms, lawyers claim

Nazim accused of conspiring with Villa group to harm state officials

Ex defense minister’s wife charged with illegal weapons possession

Nazim remains in custody as High Court rejects appeal

Former Defence Minister Nazim remanded for 15 days

Police deny framing Nazim as former Commissioner alleges politicisation

No forensic evidence against Nazim, says legal team

Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours


Ex Defense Minister Nazim’s wife presses “malicious prosecution” charges against PG Muhsin

Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim’s wife has pressed civil charges against Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin for “malicious prosecution” over a now withdrawn illegal weapons charge.

Afaaf Abdul Majeed and Nazim were summoned to the Criminal Court on February 25 over the discovery of a pistol and three bullets during a police raid on their apartment on January 18.

But state prosecutors requested the three judge panel to withdraw charges against Afaaf, claiming documents on a pen drive confiscated along with the weapons had brought to light new information.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Afaaf’s family member Ismail Hameed said Muhsin had made an unjust accusation against Afaaf. Her complaint filed under Article 75 of the 1968 Penal Code was submitted to the Civil Court today.

Article 75 penalizes unjust accusations made with the intent of harming or hurting an individual with a fine no more than MVR200 (US$13).

Afaaf was not aware she was under suspicion for illegal weapons possession until she received the court summons. The police had questioned her only once on the controversial weapons find, her lawyer has previously said.

Nazim’s family alleged the weapons were planted in order to frame the then- Defense Minister, a claim the police have denied.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed on Monday said the decision to withdraw charges against Afaaf demonstrated that Muhsin could not be trusted to protect the former Defense Minister’s rights as the accused, including the PG’s constitutional responsibility to asses evidence presented by investigating bodies before pursuing charges and overseeing the legality of preliminary investigations.

State prosecutors were also forced to change charges from illegal weapons possession to importing and possessing illegal weapons midway through Monday’s hearing when Hameed pointed out an error in the charge sheet.

Further, some of the 13 anonymized police statements presented as witness statements were dated a year back, Hameed contended. The police had also claimed to have discovered an improvised explosive device in the black bag, but had made no mention of it in court, he added.

He then asked judges to hold a public and open trial in a larger courtroom to ensure Nazim’s rights are protected. Presiding Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf refused the request, saying the trial was already public as ten reporters and six members of the public were allowed to observe the trial.

The police on February 10 arrested Nazim on additional charges of terrorism and treason, claiming the documents in the pen drive indicated he was plotting to overthrow the government and harm state officials.

However, Hameed said the police had not questioned Nazim even once during the 15 day remand.

Before the remand expired, the Criminal Court placed Nazim in pre-trial detention until the illegal weapons trial concluded.

Nazim’s family in a statement last week urged the international community to step up pressure on President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, claiming “there is no hope that Nazim can expect a fair trial” due to a “notoriously politicized judiciary.”

“Nazim never expected to be where he is now. But he has fallen foul of a political conspiracy, one in which powerful forces within the Maldivian government have sought to destroy him and thus prevent him from challenging for the leadership of the ruling party,” Nazim’s family explained in a letter to the international community.

Related to this story:

Evidence against Nazim consists only of 13 anonymised police statements

Ex-Defence Minister calls for an open, public trial

No hope for fair trial, says former defense minister’s family

Nazim accused of conspiring with Villa group to harm state officials

Ex defense minister’s wife charged with illegal weapons possession


High Court throws out Nazim’s search warrant appeal

The High Court today declined to rule on an appeal lodged by former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim requesting the appellate court overturn a Criminal Court issued search warrant.

The police used the warrant to raid Nazim’s apartment in the early hours of January 18, and announced they had discovered a pistol and bullets in a bedside drawer.

Nazim was subsequently accused of plotting to overthrow the government and plans to harm senior government officials. The police arrested him on February 10.

The High Court today said a ruling on the search warrant at this time might effect an ongoing criminal trial against Nazim over illegal weapons possession, but said Nazim’s legal team could appeal the warrant at the Criminal Court.

The former defense minister has claimed the weapons were planted in order to frame him.

At the first hearing of Nazim’s criminal trial yesterday, state prosecutors accused the former defense minister of conspiring with the Villa Group – owned by opposition Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim – to harm senior state officials.


Pistol and explosive device found at Nazim’s home, says Police Commissioner

The Maldives Police Services has revealed that it found a pistol and a makeshift explosive device at the home of former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, during a raid on January 18.

Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed told media today that, after searching Nazim’s home using “forced entry”, the police found a 9mm handgun, an improvised explosive device, 3 bullets, and a magazine.

“We did not arrest Nazim at the time because we did not see it as the best course of action to proceed depending on his profile,” said Waheed.  “However as you can see we have prevented him from leaving abroad.”

According to media reports yesterday (January 28), the former minister’s passport was being held by the department of immigration after a court order was issued.

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed – who replaced former Attorney General Azima Shukoor this week – has released a statement this evening denying that the items were there with his client’s knowledge.

“The items claimed to have been found at Colonel Mohamed Nazim’s residence by Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed do not belong to Colonel Nazim or his family, and if there were any items were present at the house, they were there without Colonel Nazim’s or his family’s knowledge,” read the statement.

Commissioner Waheed said this afternoon that the MPS had written to the Maldivian National Defense Force to verify ownership of the weaponry, but was informed that no items were missing from the military’s inventory.

He added that the weapons were “very dangerous” and that while the handgun could be lethal, the explosive device when matched with another component could cause “large scale destruction”.

The commissioner also revealed that a pen drive had been confiscated during the search, containing information that could help the investigation.

“We are still proceeding with the investigation of the case, but we plan to file it with the Prosecutor General’s Office as soon as the investigation is done,” said Waheed.

He maintained that the service was not aware that it was Nazim’s home until after entering, but noted that they had adhered to international best practices and that Nazim was present during the search.

Nazim – who was also acting health minister and head of immigration – was dismissed from his post on January 20, three days after police raid.

Speaking to the media at the time, Nazim said that events had shown no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.

“This gives an alarming signal that entering any house, at any time and to do anything is possible. The defence minister is the most senior official standing beside the president,” he told the press immediately following his dismissal.

Police have since suggested that Nazim was questioned regarding the weapons but that he had failed to adequately respond to the questions.

Nazim is currently being represented by lawyer Hameed – nephew of President Abdulla Yameen – after Azima Shakoor dropped the case yesterday citing “personal reasons”.

*Original article updated at 8:10pm to include a statement from Nazim’s lawyer

Related to this story

Dismissed Defence Minister’ passport held by authorities

Items confiscated by police do not belong to Nazim or his family, say lawyers

Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours

Opposition condemns Defense Minister Nazim’s apartment raid


Items confiscated by police do not belong to Nazim or his family, say lawyers

Former Defense Minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim’s legal team says that items confiscated by police at his apartment last weekend do not belong to him or his family.

Nazim’s lawyers released a press statement today saying that the former minister wanted to to make it clear to the public that he does not know who the “items” belong to.

Former Attorney General – and former cabinet colleague of Nazim – Azima Shukoor will head the legal team who today said that their client did not commit any act in violation of the law and that “he would like to assure everyone that he would not do anything in violation of the law in the future.”

Nazim – who was also acting health minister – was dismissed from his post on Tuesday (January 20), three days after police raided his apartment in the Galolhu ward under a court warrant.

President’s Office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz tweeted at the time that Nazim had been “expelled from his post due to an ongoing investigation”.

On the same day, Muaz announced that Major General (retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel had been appointed as the new minister of defense and national security.

Police subsequently told the press on Tuesday that they had found dangerous weapons at Nazim’s house during the search, though they denied knowing it was Nazim’s home before the raid.

“We found dangerous weapons at his house,” said Spokesman for Commissioner of Police Ahmed Shifan. “Nazim and some of his family members were questioned regarding the weapons but they failed to adequately respond to the questions.”

Speaking to the media the same day, Nazim said that recent events had shown that no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.

“This gives an alarming signal that entering any house, at any time and to do anything is possible. The defence minister is the most senior official standing beside the president,” he said during a press conference held at the studios of DhiTV.

“It is how things are in all parts of the world. If the situation is so that the minister’s house can be raided at any time, no Maldivian citizen will have safety and security”.

Related to this story

Nazim dismissed as defence minister, replaced by Moosa Ali Jaleel

Dangerous weapons found in Nazim’s house during raid, say Police

Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours

Opposition condemns Defense Minister Nazim’s apartment raid


Government scales down water relief effort

President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has scaled down water relief efforts today by ending the distribution of bottled water to residents of capital Malé.

“We decided to stop the bottled water distribution because there is no shortage of drinking water at the moment. There is also enough water at corner shops for purchase,” Minister of Defense Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim said at a press conference last night.

The government had set up water distribution centers after a fire at Malé Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) on December 4 gutted the sole desalination plant in Malé, leaving 130,000 people without drinking and running water.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemned the government’s decision with party Chairperson Ali Waheed saying that the decision will lead to further hardship and claimed the Maldives is currently seeing its worst days since the 1970s.

A Bangladeshi navy ship, the BNS Samudra Joy, arrived in Malé today with 100 tonnes of bottled water and five reverse osmosis plants, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Meanwhile, custom built panels to replace the damaged panel boards connecting electricity generators and desalination plants at MWSC arrived in Malé from Singapore today.

MWSC has now started releasing water once in the morning and once at night. Water was available for four hours this morning and will be available from 7:30 pm – 12:00 am tonight.

The government has also decided to establish a 20,000 ton ‘strategic reserve’ of water to prevent another crisis, using funds gathered through the US$ 20 million ‘Malé water crisis management fund.’

Nazim, who also heads the water crisis task force, said that funds would mainly be used to recover costs which are not covered by insurance, the construction of the 20,000 ton water reserve and to cover the cost of relief operations. Individuals and corporations who contributed to the relief effort will all be reimbursed, he said.

The fund’s establishment has garnered criticism from the opposition and civil society groups, who have demanded transparency in the fund’s utilization.

In response, Nazim said the fund was set up with “very good intentions.”

“Information about the fund would be released in a very transparent manner. I urge the public to refrain from politicizing the fund.” he added.

Anti-corruption NGO Transparency Maldives has demanded a break down of the US$20 million and said “the decision to seek donations from the public raises questions given that MWSC is a private, profit-making corporation with 80 per cent government shares.”

Private donors have contributed US$5.5million to the fund so far.

Protests demanding free water continued in Malé last night, but were disrupted for the third time by a group of seven young men.

Minivan news observed six to seven young men who were hiding within the protesters jump on a truck and start vandalizing the generator powering the sound system. One attacker lifted up the generator and threw it on the ground.

Police immediately moved in and arrested the attackers. Minivan news saw little to no resistance from the attackers during the arrest.

Several eyewitnesses later told Minivan news that the attackers were praising President Yameen as they waited for a police vehicle to take them to the police head quarters.

“President Yameen is the best thing to have happened to the nation,” one of the attackers was reported as saying.

Another eyewitness told Minivan News that he heard one Special Operations (SO) police officer insulting Former President Mohamed Nasheed while stating those arrested would be released the next day.

A police media official confirmed to minivan news that seven men were arrested last night in relation to the attacks at the protest.

A similar incident occurred on the previous night when three young men attacked the protest armed with box cutters.

On Wednesday, Mirihi Island resort has donated a temporary desalination plant capable of producing 100 tonnes of water to the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

The MNDF has also started distributing disposable cups, plates and cutlery to cafés in Malé.