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Court rejects Gayoom’s pleas, proceeds to trial

Gayoom was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly refusing to hand over his mobile phone for a police investigation.



The criminal court on Tuesday rejected 12 pre-trial motions from former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and decided to proceed to trial on obstruction of justice charges.

According to media reports of the preliminary hearing, Judge Hassan Najeeb rejected the legal and procedural arguments made by Gayoom’s defence counsel and scheduled the first hearing of the trial for Thursday.

Gayoom was charged along with Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed for allegedly refusing to hand over their mobile phones for a police investigation.

All three have dismissed the charges as “politically motivated.”

The 82-year-old former strongman was unable to attend the last hearing on May 10 due to poor health.

Gayoom suffers from a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) that causes dizziness. His lawyer told the court that Gayoom on Tuesday morning had his fifth attack since his detention in February.

Citing doctor’s advice to rest for 48 hours after an attack, defence lawyers requested postponement of the hearing and repeatedly informed the judge that Gayoom would find it difficult to sit for too long.

Judge Najeeb, who was appointed to the bench three weeks ago, rejected the pleas and continued with proceedings.

Najeeb had taken over as the presiding judge from Judge Adam Arif at the last hearing, during which he also rejected pre-trial motions and decided to proceed to trial for the two detained justices.

Gayoom, Saeed and Hameed were arrested hours after a state of emergency was declared on February 5.

All three are also standing trial on terrorism charges over an alleged plot to oust President Abdulla Yameen.