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Court hearings underway regarding release of jailed politicians

Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 September 2018, MVT 18:59
Crowds gather in front of the Criminal Court on September 24, 2018, after jailed politicians are summoned for their hearings. PHOTO: ASIMA NIZAR/MIHAARU
Crowds gather in front of the Criminal Court on September 24, 2018, after jailed politicians are summoned for their hearings. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Crowds gather in front of the Criminal Court on September 24, 2018, after jailed politicians are summoned for their hearings. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz exits the Criminal Court upon his release. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 September 2018, MVT 18:59

Court hearings began Monday evening regarding the release of some jailed politicians, who are serving jail sentences on various convictions or have been detained for the duration of their trials.

The politicians summoned to the court Monday include former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, Gayoom's son-in-law Mohamed Nadeem, Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz, and Gemanafushi MP Ilham Ahmed. Meanwhile a hearing is also scheduled for Machangolhi South MP Abdulla Sinan.

With the announcement of the hearings, crowds began to gather in front of the Criminal Court on Monday evening, including relatives of the detainees and their supporters.

Police officers are also on the scene, but they have made no interventions to break up the crowds. Instead, the officers are ensuring smooth flow of traffic amidst the gathering.

18:02

Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz has been released.

The former Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz was sentenced to jail for four months and 24 days in April 2018 by the High Court, over refusal to comply with an order to hand in his mobile phone to the police for investigation.

While he has already completed that sentence, he was detained in March prior to the conviction, in connection to another case.

The court released Riyaz on Monday evening, stating that there was no reason to keep him in detention. The prosecution did not raise any objections.

18:32

Former First Lady Nasreena Ibrahim and daughter Yumna Maumoon arrive in front of the Criminal Court ahead of the hearings of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, his son Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, and Yumna's husband Mohamed Nadeem. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Former First Lady Nasreena Ibrahim, the wife of jailed former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, arrived at the Criminal Court.

Gayoom and their son, Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, are on their way to the hearing, regarding their incarceration.

19:19

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, former top court judge Ali Hameed, former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Areef, and Gayoom's son-in-law Mohamed Nadeem have been brought to court.

All of them were arrested in the crackdown amidst the state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom last February, after the Supreme Court issued its unprecedented verdict to release nine high profile political prisoners.

21:00

Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz has exited the Criminal Court and addressed the press.

Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz speaks to the press, after the Criminal Court ordered his release from detention. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Riyaz: I don't believe that President Yameen wishes to grant clemency to anyone. In my opinion, all political prisoners will be released under Ibu (President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih)'s pledges. I don't recognise [my release] as mitigation granted by President Yameen.

Riyaz: I'm immensely grateful that the majority [of ballots cast] in the three ballot boxes at my home island of Thimarafushi were in favour of Ibu. I'm also grateful that the majority of my constituency (Kinbidhoo) voted for Ibu. I will remain in service to this country.

21:21

Two pickups carrying unknown items under a tarp were seen leaving Muliaage, the Official Residence of the President, and entering the residence's garage located on the road Lily Magu, according to eye witnesses. Crowds have gathered in front of the garage, demanding that the items transported by the pick-ups be shown in front of the media.

22:00

Police officers are working to control the crowds gathered in front of Muliaage's garage. Police have declared that they will send their spokespeople to the garage, at which time the contents of the two mysterious pick-ups will be revealed to the media.

SO Police in riot gear work to control the crowds gathered in front of Muliaage garage. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH/MIHAARU

22:12

Special Operations police officers in riot gear are working to break up the crowds in front of Muliaage garage.

22:31

In addition to Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz, the Criminal Court has freed all the detained politicians who are not convicted, including former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Areef, the two lawmakers Ilham Ahmed and Abdulla Sinan, and Mohamed Nadeem.

22:38

The Criminal Court did not make a decision regarding the release of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, his son Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and the former Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed, as they are all serving sentences on various convictions. The court stated that a decision in their cases will be made during another hearing, and the four are to return to prison tonight.

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