Doctors have warned that jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim could lose his eyesight if he is not urgently flown overseas for medical treatment, according to Nazim’s family.
Nazim’s brother Adam Azim told The Maldives Independent that the retired colonel’s eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and that doctors at the Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) were unable to reach a definitive diagnosis.
Azim said problems with Nazim’s vision was first noticed when he was kept at the Dhoonidhoo detention centre for the police investigation in February.
“Since then fluid kept building up in his eyes, affecting his vision,” he said.
Doctors have recommended that Nazim be sent abroad for treatment when he was brought to Malé for the latest doctor’s consultation on Thursday, Azim said.
Nazim is serving an 11 year jail sentence on charges of weapons smuggling, but maintains he was framed by rogue police officers who planted a pistol and three bullets in his apartment during a midnight raid.
The former minister has been brought to Malé for consultations with doctors a number of times since his imprisonment. The family and lawyers have previously raised concern over possible damage to his kidneys.
Moosa Rameez, a Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) spokesman, was unable to confirm whether Nazim’s family had requested permission for the inmate to travel overseas, but added that convicts could only be sent abroad based on doctor’s recommendations.
“I am not aware that Nazim’s doctor has recommended he be sent abroad,” he said.
But, according to Azim, a specialist at IGMH had recommended on July 16 that Nazim be transferred to house arrest for three or for weeks for observation due to persistent unease and chest pains.
“Those orders also were ignored. Now we suspect that the government is aiming to damage Nazim’s primary senses,” he said.
Nazim’s family has written to home minister Umar Naseer requesting his transfer to house arrest following the recommendation by doctors. However, the home minister is yet to respond.
“This is mental and physical torture in its rawest form,” Azim said.
Nazim’s lawyer, Husnu Suood, also confirmed the doctor’s recommendation for urgent treatment.
“We have not been given access to the medical reports by the doctors despite many requests, but Nazim cannot read or watch anything, puss and fluid is clouding his vision” the former attorney general said.
In May, Nazim was authorised to travel to Singapore for 45 days to seek medical treatment. However, the MCS demanded his return ahead of the deadline, claiming to have learned that he had completed the treatment.
An appeal of the weapons smuggling conviction at the High Court meanwhile remains stalled after the Supreme Court transferred two judges on the five-judge panel to a newly created regional branch in the south.
Earlier this month, Suood petitioned the Supreme Court to issue an order the appellate court to reconstitute a bench to hear the appeal.
Nazim’s trial coincided with the terrorism trial of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in jail over the military detention of a judge during his tenure. The pair’s imprisonment sparked a six-month-long political crisis with daily protests.