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Prosecutors admit Faris was sentenced after rushed trial

The lawmaker was convicted of identity fraud for using the ruling party flag.



MP Faris Maumoon was convicted of identity fraud after a rushed trial lacking due process, state prosecutors admitted in an appeal hearing Monday.

Faris, who was sentenced to four months and 24 days of jail in June, was released on bail on Sunday along with his father Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim.

The High Court released the politicians pending a ruling on their appeals.

At the second hearing of Faris’s appeal Monday, prosecutors admitted the criminal court trial did not follow due process and that state witnesses gave false testimony, reported Avas. Prosecutors alleged that witnesses lied due to “pressure from defence attorneys.”

Prosecutor Aishath Reesha said hearings were not scheduled beforehand and the trial was rushed. Even the prosecutors had requested to delay the hearings, she said, adding Faris was not given adequate time to prepare.

Faris was sentenced on the night of June 27 after back-to-back hearings in the morning and afternoon. He was found guilty of misusing the ruling party’s flag at an opposition press conference.

Defence lawyer Maumoon Hameed said he was happy with the state’s admission. It was enough to overturn the conviction, he said.

Faris faced discrimination during the trial, Hameed added, noting that the state had failed to bring some witnesses to the stand saying they were in senior positions in the government. But the prosecution failed to provide a legal justification.

Defence lawyer Hussain Shameem said the trial and conviction violated the criminal procedure code.

Chief judge Mohamed Faisal concluded Monday’s hearing after announcing that a judgment will be issued at the next hearing if there are no further arguments to be heard.