Amnesty International has petitioned the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s case, seeking a judgment declaring his imprisonment illegal.
Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s South Asia specialist, confirmed the submission to the specialised UN agency in a tweet yesterday.
— Abbas Faiz (@tweetafaiz) February 13, 2016
“We are doing this because we do not believe justice can be secured from the Maldivian court system. But the UN is an international organization that Maldives is party to and if the government disregards their decisions it shows that they do not respect international norms and standards,” Nazim’s brother Adam Azim told The Maldives Independent.
Nazim was found guilty of weapons smuggling and sentenced to 11 years in prison in March last year. The retired colonel has maintained that he was framed by rogue police officers acting on the orders of then-Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.
The UN WGAD, a specialised agency comprised of five independent, had ruled in September last year that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s imprisonment on a terrorism charge was illegal and politically motivated.
The government, however, rejected the non-binding opinion as “flawed and premature,” but later said the Supreme Court will consider the judgment when it hears the state’s appeal of Nasheed’s conviction.
In addition to UNWGAD, Amnesty has also submitted the case to UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyer as well as Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health.
The High Court had concluded hearings of Nazim’s appeal last month.
During Nazim’s trial in March last year, the criminal court had refused to call all but two of the defense witnesses, claiming some were not relevant while others could not negate the prosecution’s case.
In his closing argument, Nazim’s lawyer Husnu Suood had raised issues of the police warrant being obtained under false pretenses, and police officers failing to videotape the house raid as required by established procedures.
Meanwhile, since his arrest in February last year, Nazim had been brought to Malé on several occasions for consultations with doctors.
Nazim’s brother-in-law said last month that he is facing several medical complications, “including deterioration of his eye sight, heart problems and also varicose [budging and twisting of large veins, especially of the leg”
In January, the government granted Nazim a 15-day medical leave to seek treatment in Singapore.
However, Nazim’s family have been seeking approval to travel to India instead.
“Singapore is very expensive. The state healthcare scheme Aasanda does not cover hospitals there,” his brother-in-law told The Maldives Independent last month.
“India is better for medical treatment. The government cannot force us to go to the most expensive country.” Nazim’s brother Azim said.
In October, Husnu Suood criticized the government for neglecting the medical health of high-profile inmates, including his client Nazim.
“This is clearly against the Anti-Torture Act which states inmates should be treated accordingly. The government and correctional service facility will be held responsible if Nazim loses his sight,” the former attorney general said.