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Ex-Maldivian president sentenced to 13 years in jail

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Male, March 14: Former Maldivian president Mohamed sheed has been found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the military’s detention of Crimil Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. The verdict was delivered at the fil hearing on Friday night.

Delivering the verdict, Judge Abdulla Didi said the prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasoble doubt that sheed ordered the chief judge’s arrest or “forceful abduction” and detention on Girifushi Island. sheed was the “architect” of the “atrocity,” Judge Didi said. While state prosecutors presented their closing arguments, sheed asked for 20 days to prepare his closing statement, stating he was uble to communicate with lawyers, examine evidence, or adequately prepare a defence.

sheed was charged with “enforced disappearance” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990, which carries a jail term of between 10 to 15 years. Prior to a hearing on March 9, all four of sheed’s lawyers quit in protest of the Crimil Court’s refusal to grant sufficient time to examine the prosecution’s evidence and mount a defence. The presiding judges had denied the lawyers’ request for adequate time, stating sheed’s legal team has had the case documents for three years, said the daily. sheed was first charged in 2012 with arbitrary detention under article 81 of the pel code, which carries either banishment or a jail term of up to three years.

On February 15, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin withdrew the charges filed at the Hulhumale Magistrate Court. sheed was arrested on February 22 shortly after the prosecutor general filed terrorism charges at the Crimil Court. At the previous hearing, Judges Didi, Abdul Bari Yousuf, and Shujau Usman dismissed the opposition leader’s repeated requests for legal representation. The judges also refused to hear defence witnesses, claiming they could not negate the prosecution’s evidence or witness testimony. “I want a lawyer. This is not a court of law. This is injustice. This is the biggest circus this country has seen in its constitutiol history,” sheed said. Continuing its daily protests since sheed’s arrest, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) began a march at the “Usfasgandu” area of capital Male with thousands of supporters. Police escorted sheed to court around 8 p.m. for the last hearing of his trial. The opposition leader attempted to talk to jourlists assembled outside the building, but was blocked by police. sheed told the jourlists to “stay strong.” (IANS)

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