The Edition


Maldives ex-defence minister framed, DNA from handgun matches Adheeb, lawyer claims

Mohamed Visham
21 June 2016, MVT 23:53
Former defence minister Nazim waves as he is escorted into the Supreme Court on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
21 June 2016, MVT 23:53

The DNA recovered from the handgun found in jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim's residence matches former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor which proves that Nazim was framed, his lawyer claimed Tuesday.

Nazim who is serving 11 years in prison for weapons possession has maintained that the hand gun was planted in his residence, though the High Court had also backed the lower court verdict.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Nazim's lawyer Husnu Suood said the police forensic report showed that the DNA found on the handgun matched Adheeb who is accused of framing the then defence minister.

The report has been shared with home minister Umar Naseer, Police chief Ahmed Areef and Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham, Suood who served as the Attorney General said.

According to Suood, police will seek charges against Adheeb based on the latest findings, he added.

"Police during the investigation has discovered that the DNA recovered from the weapon that was found in Nazim's room matched Adheeb. My sources say police had convened with the Prosecutor General over the findings. And police are looking to send the case to PG office tomorrow [Wednesday], Suood explained.

Suood during the first pre-trial hearing of Nazim’s final appeal, told the Supreme Court last week that a police officer named Asif had planted the weapon inside his room during the raid.

He also alleged that the whole thing was planned by Adheeb and the ex-Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed and had urged the court to summon them both.

Suood had also urged the court to summon the then Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed to prove that the police had produced falsified information for the search warrant on Nazim’s residence.

However, prosecutors during Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing argued that the claim of being framed by a police officer was not presented by the defence during the investigation, the original trial or the first appeal.

The sudden and questionable nature of the claim does not warrant the court to summon any witnesses, prosecutors insisted.

Prosecutors had also admitted that the forensic report on the handgun is yet to be completed.

In light of the significant break in the case, Suood called on the authorities to immediately release his client.

"The government has now found that Nazim was framed by Adheeb," he added.

Meanwhile, moments after Suood's press conference Home minister Umar Naseer stepped down for reasons yet to be confirmed.

The home minister is yet to specify a reason behind his sudden decision to step down but Umar last week had admitted that Adheeb was more than capable of framing Nazim after admitting the ex-VP had threatened Nazim.

Umar’s influence within the government has been on the decline after his crackdown on gangs.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday relieved the home minister of the authority to issue monitoring and control (MONICON) orders to appoint a four member committee to handle the task.

However, the controversial anti terrorism law only affords the authority to issue MONICON orders to the home minister. But the newly formed committee mandated to “advise” the home minister on MONICON orders has effectively relieved the minister as the sole authority for such orders.

Maldives has electronically tagged, conducted surveillance and intercepted communications of several high-profile gang members which has put pressure on Umar from even within the government.

Opposition parties have continued to accuse president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for having links to gangs.

The decision to relieve Umar of MONICON authority also came after a spate of gang related stabbings that left two fourteen year olds dead.