Jailed ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim’s lawyer Husnu Suood has 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.
“Nazim’s health is deteriorating. If he is not given the necessary treatment within the next few days, I intend to take the matter to civil court,” the former attorney general said.
Nazim is serving an 11 year jail sentence on charges of weapons smuggling.
Suood, who is also representing Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, expressed concern with Imran’s continuing detention. Imran was taken back to police custody last week, a day after the chief judge of the criminal court authorised his transfer from a high security prison to house arrest.
Imran is being held at the police detention centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo near Malé until the conclusion of his trial.
The presiding judge, Abdul Bari Yousuf, has said that the trial was stalled due to delays in completing the construction of a new courtroom.
Suood said Imran is facing difficulties praying as is being kept with suspects arrested in connection with serious crimes, who often swore and cursed while the leader of the religious conservative party performed the daily prayers.
Judge Bari ordered Imran’s transfer back to police custody citing a secret police intelligence report, which was not shared with defence lawyers.
Imran has also been brought to Malé multiple times for consultations with the doctor. He has diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, according to doctors.
Meanwhile, Nazim was brought to the Eyecare ophthalmology clinic in Malé yesterday. He was also brought to the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) on July 23 to consult an eye doctor.
In May, Nazim was authorised to travel to Singapore for 45 days to seek medical treatment. However, the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) ordered the jailed defence minister to return ahead of the deadline, claiming to have learned that he had completed the treatment.
Nazim’s family has written to home minister Umar Naseer requesting his transfer to house arrest. An appeal of the weapons smuggling conviction at the High Court meanwhile remains stalled after the Supreme Court transferred two judges on the five-judge panel to a newly created regional branch in the south.
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.
With mounting diplomatic pressure and talks between the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and the government, Nasheed was transferred to house arrest in late June.