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Ex-defence minister vows to hold president accountable for frame-up

Nazim returned as a free man after the Supreme Court suspended his 11-year jail sentence.



Former defence minister Mohamed Nazim vowed upon his return to the country Sunday night to bring outgoing President Abdulla Yameen to justice for his alleged framing in early 2015.

The retired colonel, who went to Malaysia in early October after he was granted medical leave from prison, returned as a free man after the Supreme Court suspended his 11-year jail sentence for a review of his weapons smuggling conviction.

Speaking to the media for the first time since his imprisonment, Nazim said he would urge president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to identify those responsible and hold them accountable for unjustly jailing him for nearly four years.

“I believe this was a very wicked atrocity committed with the involvement of then-police commissioner Hussain Waheed and President Yameen,” he told reporters at the airport.

In January last year, a UN rights panel found Nazim was not afforded a fair trial and backed his assertion that he was framed by Specialist Operations police officers, whom he accused of planting a pistol in his bedroom.

But the government rejected the “non-binding” judgement and President Yameen denied the growing ranks of opponents in jail were political prisoners.

Nazim told reporters Sunday night that police could not have entered a defence minister’s apartment without the president’s consent. Those involved must be held accountable to prevent frame-ups in the future, he stressed.

In June 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear Nazim’s appeal despite an admission by police that former vice president Ahmed Adeeb’s DNA was found on the pistol.

Nazim was found guilty after a widely condemned trial in March 2015 despite the lack of his fingerprints or DNA on the pistol.

In the wake of Yameen’s heavy defeat in September’s election, the apex court accepted an appeal to review its decision.

The stay order issued on November 4 to suspend Nazim’s jail sentence was the latest move by the courts to free high-profile politicians jailed under Yameen’s administration.

Upon his return, Nazim also announced his intention to join the Jumhooree Party, one of the four partners of the incoming coalition government.

His aim is to serve the new administration and help maintain it for the five-year term, Nazim told the press.

He met president-elect Solih on Monday morning.

Nazim was greeted at the airport by JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla and other coalition leadership figures. As with the return of former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel, leaders of the president-elect’s Maldivian Democratic Party were conspicuously absent.