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High Court frees ex-magistrate Nihan

Nihan was accused of conspiring to kidnap former president Yameen with a fraudulent arrest warrant.



The High Court has overturned former Maamigili magistrate Ahmed Nihan’s conviction on a controversial charge of participating in committing an act of terrorism.

Together with former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, Nihan was convicted in June 2016 and sentenced to 17 years in prison. They were arrested for conspiring to kidnap former president Abdulla Yameen with a fraudulent arrest warrant.

The criminal court verdict “contravened judicial and legal principles,” the appellate court ruled Wednesday.

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.

Nihan’s arrest in 2016 was condemned by the International Commission of Jurists, which called it “another blow to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.”

The former magistrate is the latest prisoner to be freed by the courts since former president Yameen’s heavy defeat in September’s election.