The High Court on Sunday backed the verdict of the Criminal Court to jail religiously conservative Adhaalath Party’s president Sheikh Imran Abdulla for 12 years on terrorism charges.
Sheikh Imran is charged with terrorism for inciting violence during a major opposition protest held in May 2015. Hence, the appeal of the verdict has only been concluded after a year.
Since mid-2016, Imran has been serving his jail sentence under house arrest as renovations are said to be ongoing at prison. The decision made by the High Court bench consisting of Chief Judge Abdulla Didi, Judge Ali Sameer and Judge Abdul Rauf stated that there is no possibility of declaring that the Criminal Court’s verdict is against the Constitution and Islamic Sharia. The High Court's verdict also read that the appellant could not prove his innocence during the appeal.
Sheikh Imran’s lawyer Husnu Al Suood has declared that his defendant’s jail sentence violates constitutional laws and highlighted 12 points to nullify the Criminal Court’s original verdict. He especially stressed that the Criminal Court had sentenced Sheikh Imran without presenting any witnesses.
However, the High Court mentioned that Imran failed to present evidence to defend himself when given the opportunity during his trial.
The High Court’s verdict mentioned that during the opposition protest Imran remarked to not hesitate and to finish the things of top government officials. And also noting that 17 police officials and property were injured and damaged due to the violence created the verdict added that Imran did not mention that the protest is over.
Hence the court decided that Imran, as a top official of the protest, must take responsibility of the damages caused.
After the verdict, Imran was seen jovially speaking with the deputy leader of Adhaalath Party Ali Zahir and his lawyer Husnu Al Suood.