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Verdict delayed as Justice Hameed rushed to hospital

Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was postponed several times and eventually cancelled after the Hameed was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties before he went into the courtroom.



A hearing to deliver verdicts in the trial of two top judges has been rescheduled for 2 pm Thursday after Justice Ali Hameed was rushed to hospital.

Wednesday’s hearing was due to take place at 4 pm but was postponed several times and eventually cancelled shortly before midnight.

Hameed’s lawyer told the press that his client was taken to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital with difficulty breathing before he went into the courtroom.

Hameed was admitted to the emergency ward overnight and released after treatment Thursday morning, a hospital official told Avas.

Hameed and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed are accused of influencing official conduct. Their trial was closed to the media and public and held in secret. They have denied the charge.

Saeed, the country’s first chief justice to face criminal prosecution, was Tuesday found guilty of obstruction of state functions and sentenced to four months and 24 days in prison.

Both judges face additional charges of obstruction of justice and terrorism in connection with an alleged coup plot. They have denied these charges also.

They were arrested on February 5 after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency following a Supreme Court order to release nine of his opponents and reinstate opposition lawmakers.

Their convictions will trigger automatic removal from the bench if the verdict is upheld by the appeal courts.

Controversial legal changes were pushed through in March to remove convicted judges without the parliamentary vote called for by the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority to approve a finding of gross incompetence or misconduct by the judicial watchdog.

Hameed was also hospitalised at IGMH in February.

In August last year, Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim was sentenced in absentia to more than three years in prison while he remained hospitalised after collapsing inside the courthouse.

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a co-defendant in the terrorism trial over the alleged coup attempt, has also been suffering from poor health, leading to cancellations of several hearings over the past two days.

Former first lady Nasreena Ibrahim – who has urged police to allow her to stay with her husband at the detention centre in lieu of his transfer to house arrest – travelled to the Dhoonidhoo detention island Wednesday night after Gayoom’s condition reportedly worsened.