The criminal court dismissed charges raised against a local businessmen in connection with illegal oil supply to a North Korean ship, on the grounds that it was not a crime under Maldivian law to violate United Nations sanctions.
The case was thrown out on August 26 but the judgment was made public this week.
Abdulla Fahmy was arrested in March 2018 and charged with terrorism after a tanker operating under a Maldivian flag was caught transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in violation of international sanctions. Japan notified the UN Security Council after a military aircraft spotted the Maldivian-flagged tanker Xin Juan 18 lying alongside a North Korean-flagged tanker.
Xin Juan 18 was fraudulently registered as a Maldivian vessel with the call sign of a dhoni (traditional boat) owned by Fahmy’s brother, according to the prosecution.
Fahmy was charged “for attempting to commit an act of terrorism by unlawfully using the Maldivian flag on an unlawfully registered boat for an unlawful transaction with North Korea,” the state prosecutor told the court. The charge was not raised pursuant to a UN Security Council resolution but because “his actions resulted in creating a situation mentioned in the Anti-Terrorism Act.”
But defence lawyers challenged the validity of the charges as the alleged offences were not defined in anti-terror legislation. They also questioned whether an international resolution could be effected domestically, without passing a law.
The judge threw out the case on the grounds that there were no provisions in domestic law that criminalises sanctions-busting.