A Supreme Court ban on courts going on recess may be aimed at expediting a terrorism trial against detained ex vice president Ahmed Adeeb, his lawyers have said.
In an order issued on Sunday, the apex court prohibited lower courts from going on recess this year, citing national interest.
“At a time the country is headed for unprecedented economic development, it is not in the best interests of the nation for courts to go into a recess as per the common practices and regulations,” the order read.
The apex court has delayed its own recess, which was scheduled to begin on December 1.
“The panel of Supreme Court judges have decided that the recess scheduled for December 1 will be postponed and the new date will be announced later,” the court said.
A member of Adeeb’s legal team said: “We are worried this is aimed at ensuring Adeeb is prosecuted and jailed during the upcoming Christmas holidays, when many diplomats will be on leave.”
The former vice president is being charged with terrorism on suspicion of carrying illegal weapons. Charges have been filed at the criminal court by the new Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham.
Bisham, who was President Abdulla Yameen’s legal affairs secretary, was appointed to the post after the ruling-party dominated parliament removed her predecessor, Muhuthaz Muhsin, in a hurried midnight vote.
He was removed when he asked police for more evidence to file charges against Adeeb.
The former vice president, who was detained on October 24 on suspicion of links to an explosion on Yameen’s speedboat, is now facing a variety of charges, including corruption, criminal conspiracy and attempted murder. He was impeached in early November in a controversial vote.
In addition to Adeeb’s trial, several high-profile cases are pending at various stages at the courts.
A terrorism conviction against former President Mohamed Nasheed is before the Supreme Court now, while the appeal of a weapons smuggling conviction against former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim is before the high court.
Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail in March this year in a trial that has been widely criticised for lack of due process. A UN human rights panel has declared his imprisonment illegal.
The appeal of Nazim’s weapons smuggling conviction was stalled mid way in June, and was due to begin last week after a five month hiatus. But it was postponed because Nazim’s lawyer is out of town.
Meanwhile, the president of religious conservative Adhaalath Party, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, remains under house arrest pending the outcome of a terrorism trial.