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Jailed ex-defence minister departs for medical treatment

The prisons authority granted furlough at the request of the human rights watchdog.



Former defence minister Mohamed Nazim departed for Malaysia Thursday night after he was authorised to travel overseas for medical treatment.

The Maldives Correctional Service granted medical furlough at the request of the human rights watchdog, according to reports.

His departure comes amid the return of exiled opposition leaders and the release of several high-profile detainees after President Abdulla Yameen’s heavy defeat in the September 23 election.

Nazim 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.

The retired colonel was previously allowed to seek treatment in Singapore for deteriorating eyesight, cardiac issues, and varicose veins.

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.

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.