Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was abruptly transferred from the high-security Maafushi prison to the police detention centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo last night.
“We were not notified of the transfer or given a reason why he was being transferred,” Adeeb’s lawyer Moosa Siraj told the Maldives Independent.
Adeeb, who was first arrested on suspicion of links to the September 28 explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat, is being held in custody until a verdict is reached on a separate charge of corruption. He is also on trial for the alleged possession of a pistol.
The criminal court ordered Adeeb’s transfer from the remand facility on Dhoonidhoo to Maafushi jail in late January. The island of Dhoonidhoo is 15 minutes by speedboat from the capital while Maafushi is an hour away.
The police said at the time that the Prisons and Parole Act allows suspects in pre-trial detention to be held at the high-security prison.
The police spokesman was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Adeeb was brought to Malé on Sunday for a hearing in his terrorism trial. However, the presiding judge cancelled the hearing after only one of two witnesses showed up.
The terrorism charge against Adeeb first surfaced hours before he was impeached in a controversial vote convened amidst a state of emergency in November.
He is reportedly facing prosecution on a second count of terrorism over the boat blast, which the government insists was caused by a bomb despite contradictory and apparently scant evidence.
Adeeb is also standing trial on two counts of corruption. The 33-year-old is facing prosecution on a total of 50 counts of abuse of authority in the theft of some US$80million from resort leases – the biggest case of corruption in Maldivian history.
Hearings on the corruption charge scheduled for March 2 were also cancelled at the last minute.
Adeeb’s alleged accomplices, former tourism official Abdulla Ziyath, and influential businessmen, Hamid Ismail, were also brought to court last week for separate hearings over their role in the embezzlement of funds.
The pair were wearing the green and black uniform usually worn by inmates.
Adeeb has pledged support to the main opposition since his arrest. The Maldivian Democratic Party claims it has evidence of government involvement in terrorism financing, bribery and money laundering, a claim promptly dismissed by the government.
The MDP said some of the evidence was gathered from Adeeb’s personal laptops.