Verdict due in Faris identity fraud trial
The detained lawmaker faces a jail term of nine months and 18 days if convicted.
The Criminal Court heard defence testimony and scheduled closing arguments for Wednesday in the identity fraud trial of detained MP Faris Maumoon.
The lawmaker son of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is charged with using the flag and logo of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives at a press conference last year after he was expelled from it. He has denied the charge.
Defence lawyers presented 47 witnesses, but only five were allowed to testify. Judge Ibrahim Ali earlier said only key witnesses could be summoned.
The witnesses denied seeing Faris use the PPM flag and logo at the press conference and said he was not representing the PPM.
Aminath Nadhira, a close Gayoom aide, said the event was held at a time when the PPM was divided into two factions.
She insisted the party had not expelled Faris and that he had represented the party’s president, Gayoom, at the press conference.
“Faris did not say he was representing the PPM,” she said.
The PPM was divided following a power struggle between Gayoom and his half-brother, President Abdulla Yameen.
Abdul Aleem, the party’s former secretary general, said any decision to expel Faris from the PPM violated party principles and procedure.
“Any member of the PPM can use the party’s flag and logo,” he said.
Ibrahim Afraadh, who worked closely with Faris in the PPM, also denied seeing him use the party’s flag or logo at the press conference.
Sangu TV video journalist Ahmed Mohamed and VTV journalist Azmoon Ahmed also testified in favour of the beleaguered MP. Azmoon said the PPM flag was kept behind Faris at the press conference but said the MP talked on behalf of the PPM’s president.
Faris faces a jail term of nine months and 18 days if convicted. He is also on trial for separate charges of bribery and terrorism.
His father, who ruled the Maldives for three decades, was convicted last week for obstruction of justice and was handed a 19-month prison sentence.
His sisters both resigned as ministers from their uncle’s cabinet.
However his brother, Ghassan, remains a state minister at the president’s office. He has not spoken publicly or been seen with other family members and supporters who gathered outside the courthouse for Gayoom’s trial dates.
The article has been corrected in the standfirst and 13th paragraph.