Male, March 15: The Maldives High Court on Sunday dismissed former president Mohamed sheed’s appeal against his February 22 arrest order even as the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) declared it will launch a tionwide civil disobedience campaign to secure his freedom.
As pro-sheed supporters gathered across the capital to protest his arrest and sentencing, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen said the court order should be respected.
He said sheed had a constitutiolly guaranteed right to appeal, should he choose to do so, in line with Maldivian laws.
“The government calls on its intertiol partners to engage constructively, based on mutual respect and dialogue in consolidating and strengthening democratic values and institutions in the country,” said Yameen in a statement issued by his office.
The high court threw out sheed’s appeal as he refused to enter the courtroom for the case’s first hearing to protest the hearing not being open to the public.
sheed’s legal team had requested that the court hold an open and public hearing. However, only members of sheed’s legal team and family were allowed inside, said Maldivian broadcasting company vnews.
The news site, quoting sources, said sheed refused to enter the courtroom after his request was turned down.
sheed was on Friday sentenced to 13 years in jail on charges of terrorism by the Crimil Court for his role in the January 2012 military detention of Crimil Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed when he was president.
The MDP tiol Council, in a resolution passed Saturday night, said it does not accept the Crimil Court’s verdict.
The terrorism conviction effectively bars sheed from contesting the presidential elections in 2018.
Stressing that sheed will remain the party’s president and 2018 presidential candidate, the MDP said the party has decided to launch a tionwide civil disobedience campaign to free him.
MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said sheed was repeatedly denied legal representation and the right to appeal. (IANS)