Former Maldivian defence minister jailed for 10 years

MALE (TIP): A former Maldivian defence minister has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of detaining a senior judge, the same case in which ex-president Mohamed Nasheed has also been jailed under an anti-terrorism law.

Tholhath Ibrahim was sentenced by the Criminal Court last night after three judges presiding over the case unanimously agreed to prosecution’s allegations.

The prosecution raised its charges against Ibrahim for his involvement in the arrest and detention of Criminal Court’s controversial chief judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012 for 22 days.

At a previous hearing during the trial, Tholhath said Nasheed had ordered the arrest of the judge.

The judges said given witness testimonies and Tholhath’s own statement his involvement in Abdulla’s detention in an island used for military training was clear, Haveeru online reported.

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The prosecution further said Tholhath used the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) as a cover, but stressed the institution itself was absolved.

Ibrahim was Nasheed’s defence minister at the time of the judge’s arrest.

Nasheed, who had accused the judge of political bias and corruption, is currently serving a 13-year jail sentence over the same incident.

The imprisonment of Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, has drawn widespread international criticism, including from the US, the EU and rights groups. Nasheed resigned in 2012 after weeks of public protests over the judge’s arrest. The following year Nasheed lost to Yameen Abdul Gayoom, whose half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had ruled the country for nearly 30 years. Nasheed’s supporters allege the case is politically motivated and aimed at ending his political career.

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