Court to review restrictions on family visits for Nasheed

Court to review restrictions on family visits for Nasheed
October 12 12:36 2015

The civil court will deliberate today a complaint lodged by jailed former President Mohamed Nasheed’s siblings over restrictions on prison visits.

Nasheed, who has asked to participate in the hearings, is to be brought to Malé today at noon for a dispute resolution hearing.

Ahmed Nazim Sattar, the opposition leader’s brother, is suing the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) over what he claims is a sudden decision to limit Nasheed’s weekly family visits to his parents, wife and children.

The civil court’s dispute resolution department is handling the complaint. A trial will be held if the parties are unable to come to a resolution today.

While Nazim has said that the MCS does not have a regulation on visitation rights, a prisons spokesman previously said recently compiled regulations for the special protection units – where high-profile prisoners including the former president and two defence ministers are held – allow weekly family visits by immediate family members.

The Maldives Independent has learnt that while Nasheed’s visits are limited to his parents, wife and daughters, other prisoners in the special protection units are allowed visits from siblings.

Moosa Rameez, MCS spokesman, declined today to comment on the dispute over visitation rights for Nasheed, but said: “We acknowledge the fact that according to the type of crime and the circumstances, we do limit or extend certain services to detainees as per set regulations. President Nasheed’s family is allowed visits every week while it is not so for other prisoners.”

Meanwhile, Nasheed’s lawyers are also complaining over infrequent access. Ibrahim Riffath, a member of Nasheed’s legal team, said they have not been provided access to the former president since October 1.

Nasheed is serving a 13-year jail sentence on a charge of ordering the arrest of a judge during his tenure. A UN human rights panel has ruled his imprisonment illegal and called for his release.

The government has said it does not accept the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) opinion and says the matter must be resolved through the domestic courts.

In a letter to the prisons commissioner Mohamed Husham, lawyers noted the appeal of Nasheed’s terrorism charge is now before the Supreme Court, and said: “It is mandatory that President Nasheed receives legal counsel in the work done towards protecting his interests, preparing legal forms and documentation.”

Rameez said: “MCS will not and have not prevented president Nasheed from seeking legal counsel. It is true that there may be a delay in providing access to lawyers, for an example, if lawyers request this morning for a meeting this afternoon, we may not be able to arrange it instantly,”

 Correction: This article previously incorrectly said Nasheed would be brought to Malé for the hearing. This is incorrect. 
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