PG takes dispute over Nasheed’s terrorism conviction to Supreme Court

PG takes dispute over Nasheed’s terrorism conviction to Supreme Court
September 19 15:07 2015

The Prosecutor General’s is taking the dispute over a terrorism conviction against former President Mohamed Nasheed to the Supreme Court.

Muhthaz Muhsin said the High Court had clearly misapplied the law in rejecting its appeal on September 10.

The court had ruled the appeal was inadmissible because it had been filed by the state and not the former president.

President Abdulla Yameen is insisting that Nasheed exhaust all appeal processes before clemency could be considered.

Nasheed’s supporters say his trial is politically motivated. His imprisonment has triggered a political crisis resulting in the arrest of hundreds of protesters, imprisonment of opposition leaders and forcing others to seek asylum. World leaders have called for Nasheed’s release.

Muhsin had cited international and domestic criticism of the rapid trial in asking the High Court to determine if Nasheed’s rights had been violated.

In a statement issued in English on Thursday, Muhsin said he was concerned “that there had been a clear misapplication of the relevant legal test when determining whether the appeal ought to be accepted.”

The Prosecutor General has the inherent power to appeal any decision, Muhsin contended.

He also took issue with the High Court judges ruling that Nasheed’s rights were in fact upheld, despite never having heard arguments by the state or Nasheed.

“The Prosecutor General reiterates its position the courts are obliged to ensure that the trial of the former President and the conviction safe. The Prosecutor General, in the appeal, sets out a number of concerns that impact on the procedural fairness of the proceedings. The Prosecutor General is concerned that all applications before the courts, regardless of applicant or respondent ought to be judged in accordance with the law and in accordance with established principles of justice and fairness.

“With this point in mind, it is clear from consideration of the decision of the High Court that these principles may not have been adhered to and thus it is only appropriate that the Supreme Court is asked to consider the issue further.”

Mushin is only asking the Supreme Court is to rule on the High Court’s decision to reject the appeal. Hence it is likely that a favorable judgment would only order the appellate court to hear the case and the apex court may not rule on the credibility of the criminal court trial.

Nasheed’s office declined to comment immediately.

His international lawyers Amal Clooney and Jared Genser on September 11 had also expressed concern over the High Court’s ruling without having heard arguments from Nasheed’s legal team.

A separate petition has been filed at the UN working group on arbitrary detention. A ruling is expected in mid October. Clooney and Genser say the ruling will be used to lobby for targeted sanctions against government officials.

Yameen has meanwhile declared he would not bow down to foreign pressure, insisting international calls for Nasheed’s release amounted to interference in domestic affairs.

PG Muhsin had announced his intent to appeal Nasheed’s conviction on July 23 amidst rumors Yameen would issue a presidential pardon for the opposition leader.

Nasheed had been under house arrest at the time and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was engaged in talks with the government.

The MDP later said the government had failed to honor its commitments to release Nasheed and other political prisoners, despite the opposition backing several crucial votes in parliament, including the impeachment of former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

Nasheed was returned to jail in August. His lawyers say the government had commuted his 13-year jail term to house arrest, but the home ministry denies authorizing the transfer.

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