A former police officer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a terrorism charge raised over alleged calls to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.
Ibrahim Saleem, from the Dhabuvilaage house on the island of Hoarafushi in Haa Alif atoll, is accused of using two Twitter accounts to encourage and offer money for the assassination.
According to local media, Saleem’s defence counsel challenged the terrorism charge at Wednesday’s pre-trial hearing. Lawyer Noorusalam Abubakuru questioned the decision to charge his client with planning to carry out rather than encouraging an act of terrorism.
Overruling objections from the defence, the judge granted the prosecution’s request to respond to the arguments at the next hearing.
Judge Adam Arif said he would decide whether to proceed to trial after considering preliminary matters in accordance with the new criminal procedures law.
The Prosecutor General’s office filed the case on October 12, after which Saleem was reportedly sacked from the police. The terrorism offence carries a jail sentence of between 17 to 20 years.