MP Faris seeks temporary suspension of bribery trial

MP Faris seeks temporary suspension of bribery trial
October 18 14:54 2017

The legal team for MP Faris Maumoon is seeking to reject evidence, cancel charges and halt proceedings ahead of a bribery trial hearing.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed submitted 23 different pre-trial motions on Tuesday that will be presented in the Criminal Court next week, along with case documents from the Prosecutor General’s office.

Seven of the pre-trial motions seek to reject evidence presented against the opposition lawmaker. His legal team claims an anonymous prosecution witness should not be accepted, also appealing for the rejection of testimony from three named police officers.

They have also requested the court to reject a forensic report as well as other evidence obtained “unlawfully’, and asked for court orders to conduct an “independent third-party forensic analysis” and to disclose evidence.

Hameed told the press in September that the bribery charge was based on fabricated evidence, citing irregularities in the police forensic report of Faris’s mobile phone.

The other pre-trial motion is aimed at cancelling the bribery charges altogether after his legal team accused Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham of unduly using her authority and depriving Faris of the right to maintain his innocence.

Faris, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was charged under section 510(b) of the penal code, a class three felony offence that carries a jail term of more than three years. The MP for Dhiggaru constituency will lose his seat if he is found guilty.

Faris has denied the bribery allegations, expressing confidence the police would not possess legitimate video or audio evidence as claimed.

He was leading the push to unseat Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed after his father joined forces with the opposition in late March.

He was questioned by police five times ahead of the March 27 no-confidence vote against the speaker and later barred from travelling overseas.

Faris, who was moved to temporary house arrest last week, is also on trial for identity fraud over the alleged unauthorised use of the flag and logo of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.