Amal Clooney and other heavyweights to represent jailed ex President Nasheed

Jailed opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has unveiled an international legal team including heavyweight human rights lawyers such as Amal Clooney.

Clooney, who has advised the UN and is the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney, is accompanied by Jared Genser, the founder of the renowned campaign group for political prisoners Freedom Now, and Ben Emmerson, former UN rights chief on counter-terrorism and human rights.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail last month on terrorism charges in a trial heavily criticised by observers including the UN and Amnesty International for its apparent lack of due process.

The former president hopes to increase international pressure on President Abdulla Yameen, who has so far remained silent in the face of the opposition’s daily protests, and calls for dialogue and a presidential pardon.

“I am very pleased to have such an extraordinary team agree to take up my legal defence internationally,” he said in a statement today.

Nasheed said he is determined to “ensure the world understands the injustice of my detention and the broader suffering of the Maldivian people under President Abdulla Yameen.”

President Yameen maintains he has no role in the trial, but called on the international community to respect the Criminal Court’s verdict.

The international team will push for Nasheed’s “freedom from arbitrary detention” through international lobbying and legal mechanisms such as the UN working group on arbitrary detention, the former president’s domestic legal team says.

The working group’s decision on Nasheed’s detention will affect the international community’s policy towards the Maldives, and would inform decisions on possible sanctions, they added.

Genser has represented Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Liu Xiaobo, while Clooney has counseled political prisoners such as the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko and Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

Emmerson, meanwhile, is currently the British judge on international tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Nasheed on March 19 announced he would not seek an appeal after the Criminal Court failed to release required case documents on time, and said he is now seeking a political solution involving president Yameen.

The High Court still says Nasheed can appeal, claiming judges are authorized to accept late appeals if a “reasonable justification” is given, but Nasheed’s lawyers say Supreme Court has taken away the discretionary powers to judges in a new ruling in January.

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party describes Nasheed’s conviction as part of a broader government plan to silence dissent, a claim Yameen denies.

Since Nasheed’s conviction, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim has been sentenced to 13 years in jail on smuggling weapons and ruling party MP Ahmed Nazim was yesterday sentenced to 25 years in prison on corruption charges.

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Divers plan underwater protest for Nasheed release

One hundred divers will wave flags underwater in protest against the jailing of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday.

The dive, entitled “Free Climate Hero”, will take place near the West Park Cafe area of the capital on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm.

“You will see flags coming out of the water,” said said Hussein Latheef, a lead organiser of the event, according to Haveeru.

The dive protest is the latest in a series of events aiming to lobby for Nasheed’s release since he was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges last month.

During his presidency, from 2008 to 2012, Nasheed was an active climate campaigner, highlighting the plight of the Maldives as a small island state vulnerable to rising sea levels.

In 2009 his cabinet made headlines by holding an underwater cabinet meeting calling for global cuts in carbon emissions.

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UN sees increase in Maldivian jihadists overseas

A UN report has raised concerns over an increase in fighters leaving the Maldives to join terrorist organisations including al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The expert report to the UN Security Council, obtained by The Associated Press, said the flow of fighters globally “is higher than it has ever been historically”, increasing from a few thousand a decade ago to over 25,000 from more than 100 nations today.

The Maldives police chief Hussein Waheed in January estimated some 50 Maldivians are fighting in foreign wars, but the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party says the figure could be as high as 200.

Waheed’s comments came after reports of at least 13 Maldivians leaving for jihad surfaced in local media in early January. Since then, at least four more have traveled to the Middle East.

Some seven Maldivians are reported to have died in the past year during battle in Syria, according to local media.

Waheed said that police were monitoring the activities of militants and would reveal details of plans to prevent radicalisation at a later date. The MDP has said the government is doing little to counter radicalisation and prevent recruitment of would-be fighters.

The UN report, written by a UN panel monitoring sanctions against Al-Qaida, listed the Maldives, Finland and Trinidad and Tobago as countries from which numbers of fighters were increasing, while the highest number of foreign fighters come from Tunisia, Morocco, France and Russia.

Most fighters travel to Syria and Iraq, to fight primarily for the Islamic State and the Al-Nusra front.

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A new storm brewing over the Maldives

The following article is by Paulo Casaca, the Executive Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF).

Many Europeans flock to the beautiful Islands of the Maldives to spend their honeymoon, discover the amazing scuba diving possibilities, and walk in pure sandy beaches and to enjoy the warm hospitality of people of the island state. The Maldives is often referred to as Paradise on earth. Today, this statement could not be further from the truth. Many visitors are unaware of the political and constitutional turmoil, the increasing danger posed by fundamentalists, the inefficient and politicized judiciary, and the erosion of human rights and democratic principles. They are neatly tucked away on island resorts, while Malé is once again prone to turn into a battleground.

The 30 year long authoritarian era of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country from 1978 to 2008, formally came to an end seven years ago, but the reality on the ground is different. Gayoom has managed to keep a firm grip on power through old friends, family members and beneficiaries.
When Mohamed Nasheed, a long time democracy campaigner won the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008, there was hope the longest reigning autocracy in South Asia would come to an end. Nasheed was able to initiate first steps in democratizing the island state, but his efforts were blocked by a destructive opposition that continued to act ewithin the same obstructive and totalitarian logic of the past. The 2012 coup d’état that ousted Nasheed from power, half-way through his term, showed that the forces of oppression had not been silenced and were still alive and kicking.

The dysfunctional state of democracy, especially with regards to the judiciary, became blatantly evident in the recent terrorism charges and sentencing of Nasheed through what can only be described as a “show trial.” The fact that judges presiding over the trial had acted as prosecution’s witnesses says it all. Not only are judged politicised, biased, and negligent of the constitution, they also lack professional education and training. In May 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judged and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul described the Maldivian Justice system as a “system in crisis” and expressed great concern over political bias and low qualifications. Nothing has changed in the past two years.

And nothing will change, if the international community shies away from robust measures. In 2004, the EU’s threatened sanctions on the Maldives in the wake of human rights abuses and totalitarian governance void of any democratic principles. Only then did the regime, under the auspices of supranational bodies, start changing its atrocious behaviour towards its own people. Only when the party cadre was affected personally, did they slowly and unwillingly soften their chocking grip on civil society and the hope of freedom.
Issuing statements is a good and necessary first step. It creates awareness, and generates and increases the interest of the public. But it is not enough.

If democracy wants to have a chance in the Maldives, the international community must help pro-democratic forces. Roughly a decade after the first wave of sanctions, the EU especially, has to consider imposing them again. Freezing foreign assets and all non-humanitarian aid as well as issuing travel bans are efficient tools in this regard.

There is a old Maldivian proverb, Furifá huri badiyale gudu gude naalhaane (roughly translated from Divehi: “The water pot that is full will not shake”). Under Nasheed, water was poured into the water pot, but it trickled away due to existing holes and new holes added by the then-opposition. Now the vessel is on the brink of being completely emptied. The EU and other supranational institutions should play their role in preventing the water from being absorbed by the authoritarian modus operandi.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

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UK MP urges re-establishment of Maldives rule of law in early day motion

Conservative Party MP Fiona Bruce has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons this week urging the United Kingdom to take “all reasonable steps to encourage the re-establishment of democracy and rule of law throughout the Maldives.”

The motion – which has so far gained just three signatures – expressed alarm at the series of events that have led to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s removal from office, arrest, conviction on terrorism charges and sentencing to 13 years in jail.

It noted several irregularities in Nasheed’s trial, including the Criminal Court’s decision to deny legal representation at a number of hearings and to reject defence witnesses before they were heard.

Bruce, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission, also highlighted that many of Nasheed’s supporters have been arrested and the live broadcast feed from the People’s Majlis chambers has been cut “so the public have very little knowledge of what is happening within the Parliament.”

She said that any allegations against Nasheed must be considered openly, and with due respect for justice and legal processes.

Early day motions are tabled by MPs to publicise a particular event or cause, and to gather support among MPs for that event or cause.

Nasheed’s terrorism trial regarding the military’s abduction of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has drawn international concern. The UK, United States, and the European Union expressed concern over the lack of due process while Canada said it was “appalled by the guilty verdict”.

Bruce has previously called for sanctions against the Maldives, stating Britain and the international community could not afford to remain silent in the face of “such gross injustice.”

“Targeted sanctions against the international assets of senior members of the regime, as well as a boycott of tourist resorts owned by senior members of the regime of their associates, should be seriously considered. The Commonwealth should consider suspending the Maldives,” she said.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) hit back at Fiona’s comments claiming Nasheed had been “fully accorded his rights in line with the Constitution and the laws of Maldives.”

The PPM recommended Bruce do a “basic fact-check” and said the government cannot drop the charges against Nasheed, or anyone else.

President Abdulla Yameen has previously described advocating for charges to be dropped against Nasheed as judicial interference, and said foreigners must not meddle in Maldives’ domestic affairs.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul said the trial made a “mockery” of the Maldives Constitution and said: “The speed of proceedings combined with the lack of fairness in the procedures lead me to believe the outcome of the trial may have been pre-determined.”

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the trial was “hasty and apparently unfair” and urged Nasheed be given adequate time to prepare and present his defence during the appeal process.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has since invited the United Nations Secretary General, the Commonwealth, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the EU to send experts to observe Nasheed’s appeal process.

Nasheed’s legal team has suggested that tomorrow’s deadline for an appeal cannot be met, arguing that the court has not supplied the necessary documents.

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After incendiary sermon, thousands pray for Nasheed and Nazim’s freedom

Following an incendiary Friday sermon warning unjust judges of hellfire, thousands gathered outside the Islamic Center in Malé at noon and prayed for former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s freedom.

Dozens of police officers attempted to disperse the congregation before the prayer began, but later watched on until the prayer was completed. The police then cordoned off the area.

The sermon, issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, quoted several verses from the Qur’an and hadiths from the Prophet Mohamed’s Sunnah on the importance of delivering just verdicts and the wickedness of false testimony.

The unusually incendiary sermon comes in the wake of an 11-year jail term for Nazim on charges of smuggling weapons, and a 13-year jail term for Nasheed on charges of terrorism over the military detention of a Criminal Court judge.

The opposition has claimed the trials were unjust and marred with irregularities including the Criminal Court’s refusal to call defence witnesses and to allow adequate time and facilities to mount a defence.

Nazim maintains he was framed by rogue police officers on the orders of Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb, a claim the police and Adeeb have denied. Defence lawyers said prosecution’s witnesses had lied in court, and said the judges had violated the ex-defence minister’s right to defence.

Reading out the prepared sermon, Imams across the country said upholding justice was necessary for progress and the establishment of peace and order. Islamic Empires had progressed because they were founded on justice, they said.

Quoting from Surat al-Nisa, the sermon said: “Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.”

The sermon also urged judges to be fair, consider both sides of the argument and evidence in delivering a verdict. Providing false testimony is among the greatest of sins, it added.

Quoting from Prophet Mohamed’s Sunnah, the sermon said: “Judges are of three types, one of whom will go to Paradise, and two to Hell. The one who will go to Paradise is a man who knows what is right and gives judgment accordingly; but a man who knows what is right and acts tyrannically in his judgment will go to Hell; and a man who gives judgment for people when he is ignorant will go to Hell.”

Religious conservative Adhaalath Party’s scholars control the Islamic Affairs Ministry. The party recently withdrew support for President Yameen’s administration, and joined Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) under the banner “Alliance Against Brutality.”

The alliance has been organising daily protests in Malé.

After the sermon ended, the congregation of men and boys gathered outside the Islamic Center, adjacent to the military barracks and offered a prayer for Nazim and Nasheed: “Our beloved leader, a man loved by a majority of us, Mohamed Nasheed, has been unjustly sentenced and imprisoned. He has suffered and continues to suffer brutality. O Allah! Save Mohamed Nasheed from jail and keep him safe. Bless us in our work to establish peace and security in our country, and make us victorious.”

“Colonel Mohamed Nazim, a man who has dedicated his life to serving our people, has been falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned. Protect Mohamed Nazim and all Maldivians who suffer injustice.”

Opposition supporters last week also offered a similar prayer at the Islamic Center, prompting Home Minister Umar Naseer to call for police action against using mosques and surrounding areas to “make political statements.”

Dozens of opposition supporters on Baa Atoll Thulhadhoo Island also prayed for Nazim and Nasheed yesterday.

The alliance meanwhile held a march attended by hundreds in the afternoon and a rice pudding banquet at Raalhugandu area at night in Malé. There were protest marches on Thulhadhoo and Gaaf Alif Atoll Kolamafushi as well.

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Nasheed conviction “grossly unfair,” highlights “judicial politicisation,” says ICJ

The conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges was “grossly unfair” and highlighted “judicial politicisation,” the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) have said in a press release today.

The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in prison on March 13 over the “kidnapping or abduction” by the military of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

“The Maldivian judiciary’s independence has been compromised for years by serious pressure from the government, and this grossly unfair conviction highlights the numerous problems with the politicization of the judiciary in the country,” said Sam Zarifi, the ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

“It is crucial for Maldivian authorities to allow Mr. Nasheed to appeal his case effectively, with transparency and monitoring by Maldivian and international observers.”

ICJ contended that trial was marred by “gross violations of international standards of fair trial, including Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Maldives acceded in 2006.”

Among the violations listed by the ICJ included two of the three judges presiding over the trial having testified in the 2012 investigation, denial of legal representation for Nasheed during the first hearing on February 23, and the denial to the defence team of both full access to evidence and state witnesses and the opportunity to consult with Nasheed.

Moreover, ICJ noted that the court denied Nasheed the opportunity to seek new representation after his lawyers quit in protest of the court’s refusal to grant sufficient time to mount a defence.

“The defence was also denied the opportunity to call its own witnesses,” the press release added.

Following Nasheed’s conviction, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Minivan News that the president could not “interfere in judicial proceedings and is not to blame for court proceedings,”

“If you study this case, from the beginning to the end, it is clear the charges are not politically motivated,” Muaz insisted.

President Abdulla Yameen meanwhile called on all parties to respect the verdict and noted that the opposition leader has “a constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal.”

“The government calls on its international partners to engage constructively, based on mutual respect and dialogue in consolidating and strengthening democratic values and institutions in the country,” read a statement issued by the President’s Office.

Appeal

ICJ contended that Nasheed’s “right to appeal has been infringed by the unprecedented amendment of the statutory period for appeal from 90 days to 10 days, via Supreme Court circular six weeks prior to the trial.”

“In addition, the court has still not released to Mr. Nasheed’s defense team the full court record required to prepare and present an effective appeal within this accelerated timeframe,” the press release added.

It noted that the organisation has previously documented both the “politicisation of the judiciary” and the “polarised political climate in the Maldives, calling attention to a justice system characterised by vested interests and political allegiances rooted in the country’s authoritarian past.”

“Recent events reflect a justice system that still remains deeply politicised along the same lines of entrenched political loyalties that pre-date the transition period,” said Zarifi.

“The Maldivian judiciary must allow a proper appeal in this case if it is to establish itself as a separate and equal branch of the government dedicated to supporting the rule of law.”

The ICJ called on the government to ensure full acess and adequate opportunity for Nasheed’s lawyers to prepare an appeal, “and to ensure that the appeal proceeding is conducted fairly and transparently, with full access to media and domestic and international observers, in compliance with fair trial and due process standards under both Maldivian and international law.”

“The Maldives must also take effective measures to ensure that such violations do not reoccur in this or future cases,” the ICJ said.


Related to this story:

Nasheed to wait on appeal until Criminal Court provides full case report

Nasheed’s terrorism trial “a mockery” of Constitution, verdict “may have been pre-determined,” says Knaul

UN human rights chief expresses strong concern over “hasty and apparently unfair” Nasheed trial

US, EU, and UK concerned over lack of due process in Nasheed trial

Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen

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

ICJ says Majlis has “decapitated the country’s judiciary”

Runaway judiciary leaves the Maldives “at a dangerous junction,” says Velezinee

 

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Nasheed to wait on appeal until Criminal Court provides full case report

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has decided to wait on appealing a 13-year jail term until the Criminal Court provides both a full transcript of court proceedings and sufficient time to prepare, despite a looming appeal deadline of Thursday (March 26).

The Criminal Court has so far only provided a judgment summary, and not a full case report as requested by lawyers.

The court today blamed the delay in issuing the full report on Nasheed and his lawyers’ alleged refusal to sign statements they had made during court hearings.

Another unnamed individual had also failed to sign off their statements, the Criminal Court said, adding that it could not release full proceedings without the required signatures.

“We hereby publicly announce that if there is a delay in releasing the detailed case report, it is not because this court has failed in its duty, but because Mohamed Nasheed and his lawyers have not cooperated with the court,” the court said in a statement.

But Nasheed’s lawyers said the former president had refused to sign the statements only because they contained serious errors, which they say the Criminal Court has so far refused to correct.

“For example, the statement of witness testimony from the Chief of Defence Force contains statements he did not make in court. Further, the Criminal Court omitted President Nasheed’s request for medical attention at the first hearing on February 23,” lawyer Hisaan Hussein told Minivan News.

She also noted the statements were not a transcript of all that was said at court, but a summary, which had resulted in omissions and paraphrasing of the actual comments.

In a statement issued today, Nasheed’s lawyers said the Criminal Court has been “repeatedly obstructing President Nasheed’s constitutional right to appeal and imposing administrative restrictions by failing to provide the court report to date.”

“The full case report would include the testimonies of prosecutor’s witness which was recounted by the Judge wrongly, submissions made regarding documentary evidence, closing statement submitted by the prosecution, detailed findings of the judges with reference to the evidences and conflicting rulings made on many aspects of procedural law which was contended during the trial.

“Additionally, since the first and last three hearings were conducted in the absence of legal representation, the arguments and submissions made by the prosecution regarding witness testimonies, documentary evidence and closing statement will be known only after we receive the full case report,” lawyers said.

A High Court appeal could be filed solely based on the judgment summary, but Nasheed’s lawyers said they would then only have the opportunity to argue within the parameters raised in the initial submission.

As issues contended in subsequent hearings would only be considered at the discretion of judges, it is imperative that Nasheed receives the case report to prepare his appeal, lawyers said.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed the Criminal Court is “using every procedural trick in the book to deny President Nasheed’s right to appeal.”

“The Criminal Court conducted a disgraceful and blatantly politicized trial, and now they are busy trying to hamper the appeal,” he added.

Nasheed was convicted of terrorism on March 13 over the January 2012 military detention of Judge Abdulla in a trial many international and domestic observers called a “travesty of justice.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Lawyers and Judges Gabriela Knaul last week urged the Maldives to guarantee that Nasheed’s appeal would respect the most stringent fair trial standards and observe due process, including adequate time for preparation.

The surprise trial began one day after Nasheed was arrested on February 22, and was completed after 11 hearings in 19 days.

“It is hard to see how such hasty proceedings, which are far from the norm in the Maldives, can be compatible with the authorities’ obligations under international law to conduct a fair trial,” Zeid said.

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Criminal Court bars ex-defence minister from calling witnesses

The Criminal Court today admitted only two of the 37 defence witnesses requested in former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s weapons possession trial.

Nazim has previously claimed rogue police officers planted a pistol and three bullets found at his apartment during a midnight raid, but the Criminal Court refused to allow the retired colonel to present witnesses, stating they do not appear to negate the prosecution’s charge.

Defence lawyer Ibrahim Shameel pointed to a 2011 Supreme Court precedent in which the apex court said judges had no authority to refuse to hear witnesses.

In reply, presiding Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf said: “We know what that verdict says. [But] this court has made a decision.”

State prosecutors and defence lawyers are to present concluding statements at the next hearing on Wednesday. Afterwards, the three-judge panel could issue a verdict at their discretion.

The three judges overseeing Nazim’s case, Judge Yoosuf, Judge Abdulla Didi and Judge Sujau Usman, had convicted former President Mohamed Nasheed of terrorism on March 13 and sentenced him to 13 years in jail over the military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and UN Special Rapporteur on Independent of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul last week called Nasheed’s sentence unfair, contending the Criminal Court’s refusal to call defence witnesses contravened international fair trial standards.

The Criminal Court tonight also refused to allow Nazim to leave the country for urgent medical treatment, noting doctors had said he could attend court hearings despite his condition.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed in court last week said Nazim’s condition was life-threatening. The former defence minister was subsequently transferred from the Dhoonidhoo Remand Center to house arrest on the doctor’s recommendation.

SWAT officers “gone rogue”

At today’s hearing, the Criminal Court called Superintendent of Police Abdulla Satheeh and Assistant Commissioner of Police Hussein Adam to the witness stand.

Although judges summoned Chief Superintendent of Police Abdul Mannan Yoosuf, they refused to allow the defence team to ask questions over a possible setup against Nazim.

Meanwhile, Adam, who current heads the police’s Internal Security Command and commands the Specialist Operations (SO) officers, told the Criminal Court that Deputy Commissioner of Police Hassan Habeeb asked him to alert the SO’s SWAT team for a major operation, four days before the raid.

Satheeh, who was the chief investigative officer in Nazim’s case, confirmed the raid was carried out under Habeeb’s commands, and said it was the deputy commissioner who had decided not to arrest Nazim at the scene despite the discovery of dangerous weapons.

Satheeh also corroborated testimony by several anonymous police officers last week that the search team had entered Nazim’s apartment after SWAT officers secured the premises.

Nazim’s lawyers previously claimed SWAT officers, after breaking down Nazim’s door and herding his family inside the living room, spent ten minutes inside the then-defence minister’s bedroom unsupervised before the search began.

Adam noted the police would normally request the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) to secure premises before a raid to confiscate illegal weapons and explosive devices.

He also said he was unaware the police were raiding Nazim’s home until the next day, and he had raised the issue with the Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed afterwards. But the police chief said some operations must be kept secret, Adam said.

Satheeh, who also heads the police’s Serious and Organized Crime Unit, said he did not notice police having acted against laws and regulations during the investigation.

The search warrant was obtained after police received information from a credible source, Satheeh said. The information did not come through the police’s intelligence directorate, he said, but the police acted on the information because of the reliability of the source.

State prosecutors in court previously said confidential documents on a pen drive confiscated along with the pistol and three bullets indicated Nazim was plotting to attack President Abdulla Yameen, Tourism Minister Adeeb and Waheed, with the financial backing of opposition Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group.

But Nazim said the SWAT officers framed him on Adeeb’s orders following a fall-out over his complaint with President Yameen regarding Adeeb’s alleged use of the SWAT team to commit crimes, including the chopping down of all of Malé City’s areca palms.

Police have previously dismissed allegations of framing as “untrue” and “baseless.” Adeeb has also said he was “shocked” by the defence team’s “lies.”

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