Adeeb’s terror trial postponed after key witness fails to show up

Adeeb’s terror trial postponed after key witness fails to show up
March 07 08:48 2016

The criminal court cancelled Sunday a hearing scheduled to hear evidence against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who is accused of terrorism on a charge of carrying a pistol.

Only one of the two witnesses summoned had turned up, a judge said, announcing the cancellation.

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 was removed shortly after his arrest on suspicion of links to a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat.

Adeeb has denied the terror charge and said he was unaware of any evidence against him except for two statements that claimed he had carried a pistol on May 1, when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets over the jailing of political prisoners.

State prosecutors on Sunday asked for the opportunity to present a new document prepared overseas by the security forces as evidence. Defence lawyers challenged the request, arguing that the court had already agreed on what would be presented as evidence.

But state prosecutors said trial procedures allowed them to submit new evidence even after the list was finalised.

The three judges overseeing the case – Saeed Ibrahim, Muhthaz Fahmy and Ahmed Rasheed – adjourned the hearing without ruling on the state’s request.

The panel was assigned the case after the judge presiding over the trial – former Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed – was transferred to the family court.

Adeeb is also standing trial on two counts of corruption. He is being held at a police remand facility until a verdict is reached in the corruption trial. 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 ever 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 on Thursday 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.

Police are also seeking separate charges of terrorism against Adeeb over the explosion on Yameen’s speedboat. Home Minister Umar Naseer has accused the former vice president of planning to set off a bomb on May Day.