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Adam Azim arrested for ‘encouraging overthrow of government’

Azim was accused of encouraging the overthrow of the government and of inciting hatred among the public toward the judiciary with false claims.



Adam Azim, brother of jailed former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and shadow minister of the Maldives United Opposition, has been arrested on charges of encouraging the illegal overthrow of the government.

According to the arrest warrant issued by Chief Judge Abdul Bari Yousuf, Azim was also accused of inciting hatred and undermining trust among the public toward the judiciary with false claims.

He was arrested Thursday morning from his residence in Malé and taken to a police custodial centre.

The warrant claimed that Azim might attempt to influence witnesses and erase evidence. He also poses a threat to society, it added. The only evidence police submitted to obtain the warrant was a secret intelligence report.

Azim was appointed managing director of the State Trading Organisation after President Abdulla Yameen came to power in November 2013. Since his resignation in the wake of Nazim’s arrest on weapons smuggling charges in early 2015, Azim has been campaigning for his brother’s freedom as an active member of the opposition alliance.

He was part of an opposition delegation that visited Belgium and Germany last month to brief officials, lawmakers and NGOs about the political situation in the Maldives.

Azim’s arrest follows recent appearances on the opposition-aligned Raajje TV and Sangu TV, during which he called for Yameen’s impeachment by the parliament.

Opposition figures have strongly condemned Azim’s arrest.

“Adam Azim’s arrest on blatantly trumped-up charges demonstrates once again President Yameen’s refusal to return to the path of democracy and good governance and his obstinacy in the face of international criticism,” the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said in a statement.

“The MDP calls on President Yameen to immediately release of Adam Azim and to refrain from violating the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.”

Nazim was meanwhile transferred from prison to house arrest for Ramadan last month.

After almost a year under house arrest, he was taken back to jail on March 29 amid a “ramped up crackdown” in the wake of the opposition alliance’s failed bid to remove the speaker of parliament.

Nazim is serving an 11-year jail sentence. In January, a UN rights panel found that he was not afforded a fair trial and backed the retired colonel’s assertion that he was framed by the police.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged the authorities to immediately release Nazim but the government rejected the non-binding judgement.