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Calls to probe Maldives prison chief over Gayoom house arrest delay

Gayoom’s family do not know why there is a delay.



The Maldives prison chief must be investigated over delays to transfer former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to house arrest, his legal team said Thursday according to local media reports.

A police case was filed against Maldives Correctional Service chief Ahmed Shihan for not complying with the prison medical board’s decision. Gayoom’s legal team also said Shihan must be investigated under the Anti-Torture law.

The 82-year-old former strongman, who is the half-brother of President Abdulla Yameen, is suffering from a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) that causes dizziness and difficulty standing without assistance. He was arrested during a state of emergency imposed by his half-brother, President Abdulla Yameen.

Earlier Thursday Shihan turned away the former first lady when she visited him to clarify what the delays were.

Nasreena Ibrahim made the visit at 9:30 am, but was turned away because she had no prior appointment. She was joined by daughter Yumna Maumoon, who said she had asked two senior MCS staff about the delays. She was not given an answer either.

“It is the Commissioner’s responsibility to implement this according to the Medical Board’s recommendations. I hope [Gayoom] will be transferred home soon,” she said.

“Implement the decision of the medical board,” Gayoom’s lawyer Mohamed Faisal told local media. “Every day you delay it is another day you have to take responsibility for it. We’ve been pleading to act in accordance with the medical board’s decision as soon as possible.”

Gayoom is standing trial on a terrorism charge over an alleged coup attempt. He has already been convicted for obstruction of justice. He has denied all charges.

He was brought to the Criminal Court in Malé on Monday for a case review – hours after Yameen conceded defeat in the presidential election – but was taken back to Maafushi prison.

His son Faris is also in prison. He was convicted of identity fraud earlier this year and is also on trial over the alleged coup. He has denied all charges.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed tweeted Thursday that there was an appeal hearing scheduled for Faris on Sunday.

File photo of the former president and former first lady