Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Monday slammed a “fabricated” terrorism charge against him, insisting he had never committed a crime in his life.
Gayoom has worked since 2013 to bribe judges and influence rulings and has also bribed MPs Ilham Ahmed and Abdulla Sinan, according to the charge sheet.
The 80-year-old former dictator is also accused of influencing the February 1 Supreme Court order to release President Abdulla Yameen’s opponents and reinstate a dozen lawmakers who had been stripped of their seats.
Gayoom said the charge was based on a non-existent crime and asked if it was a “crime of terrorism” to be a leading political figure or a former president.
“I deny everything in the charge sheet from the beginning to the end. I deny it a hundred out of a hundred times,” he was reported as saying by local media.
Gayoom, who is suffering from a medical condition that has led to the cancellation of several hearings, refused to sit down and talk when allowed by Judge Ahmed Hailam.
The state presented 33 pieces of evidence against him including secret documents, a police intelligence report, secret witnesses and a crime scene report.
Hailam, a recent appointee to the Criminal Court who was announced Monday as its new chief judge, gave the defence until June 3 to submit witnesses and pretrial motions.
Defence lawyer Maumoon Hameed shared doctor’s recommendations with the judge before requesting to continue the hearing behind closed doors as he wanted to discuss private matters related to Gayoom’s health.
Gayoom’s daughter and former foreign minister, Dunya Maumoon, and his brother-in-law Abbas Ibrahim attended Monday’s hearing.
His lawyers and family have continued to appeal for his release or transfer to house arrest. He was detained for the duration of the terrorism trial.
Gayoom will be sentenced to 17 to 20 years in prison if found guilty. He is also on trial for obstruction of justice. He has denied all charges.