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wife has pressed civil charges against Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin for “malicious prosecution” over a now withdrawn illegal weapons charge.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.
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