Court rejects Nasheed’s prison transfer challenge

Court rejects Nasheed’s prison transfer challenge
August 24 16:46 2015

The criminal court has thrown out a petition by former President Mohamed Nasheed requesting his transfer from house arrest to prison be ruled arbitray and illegal.

“As per the Prisons and Parole Act, the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) is mandated to implement jail sentences issued by a court of law,” a statement on the court’s website said.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail over the arrest of a criminal court judge during his tenure.

Lawyers claim the government permanently commuted his sentence to house arrest on July 19. The government, however, denies this.

Nasheed’s lawyers declined to comment immediately. The petition was filed this morning at 8:30am.

The opposition leader was taken back to jail by prison officers acting with Specialist Operations (SO) police officers last night.

Lawyers maintain Nasheed’s transfer to prison is arbitrary and illegal. They have publicized a copy of an official document, dated July 19, which appears to show Nasheed’s 13-year jail sentence had been permanently commuted to house arrest.

The document was signed and had the state seal. A government official handed the document to Nasheed in the presence of his lawyers and family members, lawyers have said.

The government denies having issued any such document.

“It was during the enforcement of this temporary house arrest I came to know that the remaining days of the judgment against me would be enforced as permanent house arrest, starting from 19 July 2015. Furthermore, during the enforcement of house arrest, I hereby agree not to violate any laws and understand that such arrestees are forbidden from leaving house. Moreover, I also understand that this service has the discretion to file a new case against me at court if I do not comply,” the agreement signed by Nasheed said.

The opposition leader had previously signed similar agreements, when the home ministry first transferred him to house arrest on June 19 and then extended his house arrest for eight weeks on June 23.

His transfer to house arrest was part of a deal with the government in exchange for the MDP’s backing for several crucial votes in parliament, including the impeachment of Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

World leaders including UK Prime Minister David Cameron have called for Nasheed’s release.

The UN working group on arbitrary detention will rule on the legality of Nasheed’s imprisonment in September or October.