Forensic analysis has confirmed the authenticity of a disputed document on the commutation of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 13 year jail term to house arrest, his lawyers have said.
Lawyer Hassan Latheef said foreign forensic experts had compared the July 19 document with similar documents provided by the Maldives Correctional Services and found that the same government ink stamp was used on all three documents.
“The same ink stamp used on the disputed document of July 19 was used on documents provided by the MCS on 21 and 23 June, 2015,” Latheef said.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party maintains Nasheed’s re-imprisonment on August 23 was illegal as the government had commuted his sentence amidst talks on political reconciliation.
Riot police broke down the garage door of Nasheed’s residence in Malé and pepper-sprayed hundreds of his supporters when they transferred him back to the Maafushi Jail.
The government claims the document is forged.
Displaying pictures of the stamp used on all three documents, lawyers pointed to a small dot of ink under the emblem of the national flag in the stamp, which they said meant the same stamp was used on all documents.
The signatures on the disputed document, however, is different.
Lawyers declined to reveal the name of the experts who had conducted the analysis.
“We have requested the police to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation into the matter. If police do so we are sure that they will also notice the same things as we did,” lawyer Hisaan Hussain said.
Insisting that the July 19 document was forged, the government has launched an investigation. In late August, police raided Nasheed’s residence at midnight in search of the original document. Nasheed’s wife Laila Ali told the officers that it had been sent abroad, but officers continued the search and obtained four different warrants to do so.
Laila was summoned to the police headquarters soon afterwards.
The original was handed to the police on November 12, and the police have told local media they have now re-started the investigation.
Nasheed was transferred for three days of house arrest on June 19 after hid doctor recommended a stress free environment. The MCS extended the period to a further eight weeks on June 23.
Soon afterwards, the MDP began official talks with the government, and backed two constitutional amendments in exchange for freedom for all political prisoners, including former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party’s leader.
One amendment set new age limits for the presidency and vice presidency, while the second allows foreigners to own land in the Maldives for the first time. The new age-limits allowed the parliament to impeach then-Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel and appoint then-tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb to the post.
The MDP has said that the government failed to honour commitments made during the talks.
A statement issued today by the former president’s secretariat said: “The office is extremely concerned by the fact that the delays in the investigation of the document is resulting in President Nasheed being illegally detained in jail, in violation of his many fundamental rights.”
A UN human rights panel has found his detention illegal and arbitrary, but the government has rejected the opinion claiming it was flawed.
An appeal of the terrorism conviction is now before the Supreme Court.
The MDP held a three-day protest in Malé on November 27. Police pepper-sprayed and arrested protesters when they attempted to march on the streets. Home Minister Umar Naseer has now banned all street protests.