Ex-defence minister’s appeal postponed

Ex-defence minister’s appeal postponed
November 26 18:24 2015

A third hearing in the weapons smuggling appeal filed by former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was scheduled this morning after a five month hiatus. It was however called off at the last minute as Nazim’s lawyer Husnu Suood is out of town.

Nazim’s family now fears the appeal can only proceed when the High Court reconvenes in January, after a one month recess that begins on December 1.

Nazim’s brother Adam Azim told The Maldives Independent that the family is hoping to reschedule the hearing to Sunday.

“But Suood is away in London on an emergency so we are not sure if we can have the hearing before High Court breaks for recess. We may have to wait one more month or more to get justice for our brother,” he said.

The retired colonel was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March in a trial that has been criticized for apparent lack of due process.

The appeal had stalled in June when the Supreme Court transferred two judges on the five-judge panel to a newly created regional branch in the south.

Azim also told The Maldives Independent that Nazim was being kept isolated.

“We met him and he said that he was being kept in a cell where he cannot see any other cell from 9:00pm to 7:30am. A bright light is kept and he said a video camera is also kept on at the cell,” he said.

Maldives’ Correctional Services spokesman Moosa Rameez denying the claim said: “It is not true. Nazim still remains in the same cell he was in before and no changes have been brought to his cell.”

The family of former President Mohamed Nasheed, imprisoned on a terrorism charge, have also claimed a floodlight is aimed throughout the night at his cell to deprive him of sleep. The MCS has denied the claim too.

Meanwhile the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party is gearing up for a fourth mass protest tomorrow. The protest is aimed at pressuring President Abdulla Yameen to release all political prisoners.