The Prosecutor General (PG) and two of the three judges presiding over former President Mohamed Nasheed’s trial on terrorism charges are among the state’s witnesses in the case against the opposition leader.
Documents sent by the court at 11:30am yesterday (February 24) contained witness statements from PG Muhthaz Muhsin, Judge Abdulla Didi and Judge Abdul Bari Yusuf, revealed Hassan Latheef from the former president’s legal team.
“This is a clear violation of Islamic Sharia and law and also international judicial principles. The prosecution, witnesses and the judge cannot be the same person or same parties,” Latheef said.
PG Muhsin – a former Criminal Court judge – filed terrorism charges against Nasheed, his former defence minister and senior officers of the military over the controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
Nasheed’s secretariat also released a statement today suggesting that “the conflict of interest that arises from the deliberation of a trial by both the prosecutor and the witness is blatant.”
In counter-statement, the PG office noted that while all documents, including all the witness statement obtained by the police, were forwarded to the court, “no witnesses or evidence have so far been presented to the court regarding the case.”
Despite repeated attempts by Minivan News to seek clarification, PG Office Media Officer Adam Arif was unavailable for comment due to scheduled appearances at court.
Meanwhile, Nasheed’s legal team has appealed the Criminal Court’s arrest warrant at the High Court.
Nasheed’s legal team member Hisaan Hussain also confirmed that all lawyers representing the former president – including Ibrahim Riffath, Ahmed Abdulla Afeef, Abdulla Shaairu and herself – have also been registered at the court this afternoon.
On Monday (February 23), the Criminal Court informed Nasheed’s lawyers that they had to register at the court two days in advance despite being unaware of the trial until the former president’s arrest the previous day.
Former Human Resource Minister Hassan Latheef will not be representing Nasheed at the trial as he had provided a witness statement to the authorities regarding the arrest of the judge.
The second hearing of Nasheed’s trial is scheduled for tomorrow night (February 26) at 8:00pm.
The PG’s office withdrew charges against Nasheed on February 16 after initially filing charges under Article 81 of penal code for detaining a government employee who has not been found guilty of a crime.
Hours before his arrest on Sunday (February 22), Nasheed was charged under Article 2(b) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990, which criminalises kidnappings and abductions and carries a jail term between 10 and 15 years.
Nasheed’s lawyers yesterday named two of the three judges overseeing the terrorism trial as witnesses for the defence, and requested the pair’s recusal from the bench.
The former president’s lawyers stated that the two judges witnessed a conversation between Judge Abdulla Mohamed and military officers on January 16, 2012, and could testify that he had not been kidnapped.
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