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Maldives slams former presidents' call to release jailed ex-defence minister

Aishath Mihna Nasih
29 January 2017, MVT 11:13
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee. PHOTO: Mihaaru
Aishath Mihna Nasih
29 January 2017, MVT 11:13

The call by Former Presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom and Mohamed Nasheed to release the jailed former Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim, in accordance with the verdict of United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, is a disrespect to the citizens, declared the Maldives government on Saturday.

In the report published by UN Working Group late Thursday after looking into the case of Former Defence Minister Nazim, it urged his instant release, which was followed by the former presidents calling upon the government to implement the decision.

Criticizing the statement of two former presidents, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee told Mihaaru that it is a disrespect paid to the civil society.

Noting that the working group has also asked to release the elf-exiled Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is sentenced to 13 years in jail over the arbitrary detention of a judge during his administration, Minister Shainee pointed out that neither the British government had obeyed the working group’s decision to release Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who has sought asylum from the London Ecuador Embassy.

Shainee stated that the Working Group's decisions are merely recommendations which the government is not bound to follow.

“It is not acceptable that two former presidents have called upon President Yameen to release Nazim. Calling upon something which hinders the independence and sovereignty of the country will be considered as going against the Constitution.”

He further pointed out that Nazim’s case has passed all three procedures of the judiciary within the Constitution and, hence, the UN Working Group’s decision will not influence the Constitution of the Maldives.

Highlighting some objectionable points included in the working group's decision, Shainee said it is unacceptable that the UN Working Group is looking to visit the Maldives and access the situation after finalising a decision on Nazim’s case.

The UN Working group stated in its report that it observed several issues in the investigation as well as the trials of Nazim. Hence, it concluded that Nazim’s trials were not independent and impartial.

Nazim was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was convicted of weapons possession over a hand gun found in his residence. However, neither his DNA nor fingerprints was found on the weapon. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court had upheld the verdict of the High Court sentencing Nazim to jail, despite new evidence of DNA recovered from the pistol that matched the DNA profile of former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, who is currently serving a jail sentence of 15 years over an assassination attempt on the president in September 2015.

 

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