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Jail sentence of ex-defence minister and lawmaker suspended

Stay orders were issued to free former lawmaker Ahmed Nazim and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim.



The Supreme Court has suspended the prison sentences of former defence minister Mohamed Nazim and former lawmaker Ahmed Nazim.

In separate stay orders issued Sunday, state institutions were ordered not to take any action in relation to their sentences until the court reviews their convictions.

Similar orders were issued last week to suspend the sentences of former president Mohamed Nasheed and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla. They were among several politicians released from prison since President Abdulla Yameen’s heavy defeat in September’s election

The latest court order clears the way for former ruling party MP Ahmed Nazim’s return after years of exile in the United Kingdom.

Formerly a close associate of the president, the former deputy speaker of parliament was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court in April 2015. The top court overturned his acquittal by both the criminal court and High Court.

He relocated to the UK after he was allowed to seek medical treatment in Singapore.

Former defence minister Mohamed Nazim is currently in Malaysia after he was granted medical leave from prison in early October.

The retired colonel was found guilty of weapons smuggling after a widely condemned trial in March 2015. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and shifted between jail and house arrest during the past three years.

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. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged the authorities to immediately release him but the government rejected the “non-binding” judgement.

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.

But the court accepted an appeal last week to review its decision.

In February this year, Nazim was among nine prisoners whose convictions were quashed in a shock ruling by the Supreme Court, citing politically motivated trials.

President Yameen reacted by declaring a state of emergency. The unanimous Supreme Court order was “nullified” by a three-judge bench on February 6, a day after the security forces stormed the court and arrested two of the five justices, including the chief justice.