EX chief prosecutor faces fresh terror charges on ‘conspiracy to kidnap president’

EX chief prosecutor faces fresh terror charges on ‘conspiracy to kidnap president’
March 08 17:18 2016

Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and Judge Ahmed Nihan are facing fresh charges of terrorism with the police accusing the pair of conspiring to kidnap President Abdulla Yameen hostage.

According to a document shared on social media by Muhsin’s lawyer Husnu Suood, the ex-PG is accused of attempted kidnapping under the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act.

Nihan’s lawyer, Nazim Sattar, confirmed that the police have raised the same charges against his client.

The police form referred to section 4(a) of the Act, which states that committing any of the offences specified in the law for the purposes of “exerting an undesirable influence on the government or the state” and terrorising the public will be considered acts of terrorism.

The controversial anti-terror law also restricts the rights of suspects to remain silent and communicate privately with lawyers for 96 hours.

Muhthaz and Nihan were arrested on February 7 and were first accused of forging a warrant for the arrest of Yameen in connection with the Maldives’ biggest corruption scandal. 

The prosecutor general’s office has since raised charges of forgery, and conspiring to carry out an unlawful arrest against the pair. The judge, who was also accused of official misconduct, pleaded not guilty at a hearing yesterday.

The arrests came in the wake of a damning audit report exposing the embezzlement of nearly US$80 million from the state-owned tourism promotion company.

Chief Superintendent Mohamed Riyaz told the press last month that the warrant was “left on a street in Malé” in the early hours of February 7 and that activists from a political party had tried to create the impression that the police were about to arrest the president.

Muhsin was meanwhile taken into custody for a second time on Sunday after the appellate court overruled his release by the criminal court. 

Muhsin and Nihan are the latest high-profile detainees to face terrorism charges. In March last year, former President Mohamed Nasheed was controversially found guilty of terrorism over the military’s detention of a judge during his tenure.

Last month, Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla was also convicted of terrorism over a speech he gave at a mass anti-government rally on May 1, 2015.

The opposition leaders were charged under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act, which was replaced by the new terrorism law last year.