The High Court has overturned former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin’s conviction on a charge of participating in committing an act of terrorism.
He was convicted in June 2016 and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Along with former magistrate Ahmed Nihan, Muhsin was accused of conspiring to kidnap former president Abdulla Yameen with a fraudulent arrest warrant.
A three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled unanimously Thursday to overturn the sentence. In a similar ruling Wednesday, the court overturned the conviction of former magistrate Nihan and freed him from custody.
Earlier this month, the criminal court dismissed separate charges of forgery and abuse of office raised against the pair.
Both were transferred from prison to house arrest Sunday night as President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih fulfilled a pledge to release all political prisoners on his first day in office.
During the trial in early 2016, prosecutors claimed Muhsin had traveled to a magistrate court on Maamigili island in Alif Dhaal atoll to seek a fake warrant against the president.
The trip came in the wake of a damning audit report exposing the theft of nearly US$80 million from state coffers.
But Muhsin’s lawyers said he had traveled to Maamigilli on the orders of senior police officers, and had no intent of securing a fake warrant. He was accompanied by several policemen and two civilians.
The defence lawyers also objected to the court’s refusal to call key witnesses, including a deputy commissioner of police.
The guilty verdict was issued by the Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf, the former chief judge of the criminal court.
Muhsin was removed from his post in November 2015 by the pro-government majority in parliament following reports that he was stalling bribery charges against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
— Muhuthaz Muhusin (@muhuthaz) November 22, 2018