Jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim’s lawyer has petitioned the Supreme Court to issue an order to expedite a stalled appeal at the High Court.
Nazim was found guilty of weapons smuggling in March and sentenced to 11 years in prison in a trial criticised for lack of due process.
His lawyers appealed the conviction at the High Court, but the appeal stalled half-way through when the Supreme Court suddenly transferred two judges on the five-judge-panel to a newly created regional branch in the south.
Nazim’s lawyer, Husnu Suood, told The Maldives Independent that he has asked the Supreme Court to order the appellate court to reconstitute a bench to hear the appeal.
The former attorney general explained that the Supreme Court has the authority to fast-track cases at lower courts in order to ensure the constitutional right to a fair time without delays.
Nazim’s trial coincided with the terrorism trial of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in jail over the military detention of a judge during his tenure. The pair’s imprisonment sparked a six-month-long political crisis with daily protests.
The former defence minister maintains he was framed by rogue police officers who planted a pistol and three bullets in his apartment during a midnight raid.
Last week, Suood expressed concern with delays in providing medical treatment to the retired colonel, saying that doctors suspect damage to Nazim’s kidneys and have recommended that he should be kept in a stress-free or home environment to undergo heart tests.
Suood said he has since met home minister Umar Naseer and shared concerns over Nazim’s worsening health. The home minister gave assurances that Nazim will be provided treatment in accordance with the law and prison regulations.
“Authorities will have to take responsibility if Nazim’s condition goes beyond the point of treatment. Currently, we are considering filing a case with the Civil Court either citing the anti-torture act or seeking an order to give him the medical treatment according to the doctor’s wishes,” Suood said.