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Court challenged over Faris identity fraud trial



The legal team of MP Faris Maumoon have questioned the court’s authority to proceed with his identity fraud trial.

Faris, the son of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was charged with identity fraud over the use of the flag and logo of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives at a joint opposition press conference in March.

At a preliminary hearing Sunday morning, Maumoon Hameed from the three-member legal team said the trial could not take place because the Supreme Court had yet to publish new regulations governing the conduct of trials.

Hameed had previously told reporters that “the absence of this regulation affects the right to a fair trial and the criminal court does not have the authority to frame this regulation because the criminal procedures law clearly states it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court”.

The criminal procedures law came into effect in July and gives the Supreme Court three months to publish regulations governing the conduct of trials. The three-month period ended on October 2.

Judge Ibrahim Ali said the court must prioritise public interest and that a temporary suspension of the trial would bring the criminal justice system to a standstill.

Hameed’s insistence about the new regulation prompted the judge to say that he would seek the Supreme Court’s formal opinion.

The judge said further decisions would be based on the Supreme Court’s advice, suggesting the trial could be temporarily suspended.

Gayoom, who attended the hearing, tweeted his concerns.

Faris is also on trial for allegedly attempting to bribe lawmakers to pass a no-confidence motion against Majlis Speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

He denies all charges.