The Criminal Court in the Maldives is deliberately refusing to release its court proceedings to former President Nasheed’s legal team, in order to frustrate their attempts at launching an appeal.
President Nasheed was jailed by the Criminal Court for 13 years on Friday 13 March, ostensibly for ‘terrorism’, relating to the detention of a corrupt criminal court judge in 2012 when Nasheed was president.
In order to file an appeal against his conviction at the High Court, President Nasheed’s lawyers require a signed copy of the court proceedings from the Criminal Court.
Under new rules, rushed in just prior to Nasheed’s trial, the lawyers have just 10 days to file their appeal.
But the Criminal Court has informed the lawyers it will take up to 14 days to release their court proceedings.
Commenting on the situation, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said:
“President Nasheed’s trial is becoming ever more like Alice In Wonderland. At every step, the Yameen regime has violated Nasheed’s rights, while the courts break the law and the Constitution with impunity. Democracy is dead in the Maldives. In it’s place, we have thuggish authoritarian rule.”
Appeal over Nasheed’s Arrest Rejected by High Court in Secret Hearing
Meanwhile, on Sunday 15 March, the High Court rejected a previous appeal by President Nasheed’s legal team over the lawfulness of his arrest on 22 February.
Controversy marred the hearing, as the High Court insisted in holding it in secret, in violation of Article 42 of the Constitution and Article 71 of the law governing the courts.
Upon President Nasheed’s request to make it a public hearing, the High Court then dismissed the appeal.
Home Minister Announces Special Jail Cell to Hold Nasheed – Next to Prison Garbage Dump
Home Minister Umar Naseer announced on Twitter on 16 March that the government is renovating a special cell in which to imprison Nasheed in Maafushi island jail.
Naseer also said this weekend that President Nasheed will be held in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre until work on the special cell is completed.
President Nasheed’s lawyers fear that the cell — which Naseer is trying to portray as semi-luxurious — is in fact an attempt to hold Nasheed in effective solitary confinement, away from other prisoners.
The legal team is also seriously concerned about the health and safety of the cell, which is located near the jail’s garbage dump.
The use of this particular cell was discontinued after the Human Rights Commission of Maldives and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent determined in 2009 that it was unfit to hold people.
The toilet is inside the cell itself, and odor and bacteria fan out across the whole cell. It is also adjacent to the prison garbage dump.
Regime Thugs Attack Peaceful Protesters
As reported in local media, a group of eight known street thugs wielding knifes, who belong to one of Male’s criminal gangs, attacked MDP protesters on Sunday 15 March as their were preparing to peacefully demonstrate against President Nasheed’s incarceration.
The gang smashed up a pickup lorry and a speaker system that was to be used during the MDP demonstration.
Yameen’s cabinet ministers — in particular Tourism Minister Adeeb — are frequently pictured associating with well-known street gangs. These same gangsters often attack peaceful opposition protesters.
Adeeb has been previously photographed associating with the infamous pair of Armenian brothers linked with drug trafficking, money laundering, raids on media outlets and other serious crimes in Kenya.