Ex-defence minister in Singapore on medical leave from prison

Ex-defence minister in Singapore on medical leave from prison
March 20 10:30 2016

Jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim is in Singapore on government-authorised 21-day medical leave from prison.

Nazim, who left the Maldives on Friday, is seeking treatment for the buildup of fluids in his eyes.

The appellate High Court last week upheld a controversial weapons smuggling conviction against him. The retired colonel maintains that he was framed by rogue police officers on the orders of then-Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Nazim had sought treatment in Singapore once before, soon after his conviction in April last year.

Following his return to the Maldives, he was brought to the capital on several occasions because of persisting health problems, including deterioration of eye sight, varicose veins and cardiac issues.

Nazim received permission to travel to Singapore for a kidney and eye complication in mid-September. But his family asked for leave to India, noting the government healthcare scheme does not provide coverage at Singapore hospitals.

“We even requested to travel to Bangkok or Malaysia. Singapore is one of the most expensive countries. Even last time, we had to spend a lot of money,” said Adam Azim, Nazim’s brother.

The High Court rejecting Nazim’s appeal comes as a blow to the opposition, which had hoped the verdict would allow for Nazim’s release and pave the way for dialogue with the government.

The opposition is demanding the release of jailed politicians, including former President Mohamed Nasheed and Sheikh Imran Abdulla, the leader of a minor opposition party, before they join government-initiated talks.

Nasheed is currently in the UK on medical leave.

Amnesty International has lodged Nazim’s case with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a specialized agency, which had earlier ruled Nasheed’s jailing on a terror charge illegal.

A verdict in Nazim’s appeal was delayed by eight months after two of the five judges in the initial bench were transferred to a regional branch, just three days into the appeal process.