The Edition


Maldives top court throws out Nazim's appeal despite new DNA evidence

Mohamed Visham
26 June 2016, MVT 19:22
Former defence minister Nazim smiles as he enters the Supreme Court for the second pre-trial hearing on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
26 June 2016, MVT 19:22

Supreme Court on Sunday rejected the final appeal of jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim despite new evidence suggesting that he could have been framed.

Nazim was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was convicted of weapons possession over a hand gun found in his residence.

The top court rejected the final appeal after two pre-trial hearings despite DNA recovered from the hand gun found in Nazim’s residence matched the DNA profile of jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Police last week admitted the DNA match to Adheeb and had shared the findings with the prosecutor general. PG Aishath Bisam on Sunday said the DNA report had been shared with the top court on Thursday.

The stunning admission by police came hours after Nazim’s lawyer publicized the findings of the police forensic report on the handgun by reiterating that Nazim had been framed.

Former vice president Adheeb being escorted out of the criminal court after he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for orchestrating the blast aboard the presidential speedboat now confirmed as a plot to assassinate the president. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

During the press conference last 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.

However, assistant police commissioner Abdulla Nawaz told reporters hours later that despite the DNA match, it was too early to say that the then defence minister had been framed or Adheeb who himself is serving 10 years for weapons possession had been behind it.

According to Nawaz, several other DNA profiles still needed further investigation.

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.