Lawyers representing jailed ex-Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and former ruling party MP Ahmed Nazim have accused the government of neglecting their clients’ medical care and endangering the pair’s health.
Lawyers Husnu Suood and Fareesha Abdulla told the press today that the high-profile inmates face serious health risks if they are not provided urgent medical treatment.
Suood said the ex-defence minister could lose his eyesight if he is not allowed to seek treatment overseas. His heart condition is also worsening, he added.
“This is clearly against the Anti-Torture Act which states inmates should be treated accordingly. The government and correctional service facility will be held responsible if Nazim loses his sight,” the former attorney general said.
Lawyers have submitted complaints to the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS), the Human Rights Commission of Maldives, the High Court and the Supreme Court.
Fareesha said that the prisons authority has failed to arrange physiotherapy for former MP Nazim as recommended by a doctor. The MCS is also yet to arrange medical checkups, she added.
“The guards are now giving him powerful painkillers without a prescription instead of following the doctor’s order. He doesn’t even know what medicine he’s being given,” she said.
Nazim also requires treatment for diabetes.
He had also undergone two spinal surgeries, Fareesha added, and might have to undergo a third surgery if he does not receive urgent medical treatment.
“This is a very serious matter. He could be permanently disabled due to this,” she said.
Former Defence Minister Nazim was convicted of weapons smuggling charges and sentenced to 11 years in jail by the criminal court in March. The retired colonel maintains he was framed by rogue police officers. His appeal has been stalled in the High Court since April.
Former MP Nazim was convicted of defrauding the former atolls ministry and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court in April. Three more corruption cases against the former MP are pending at the apex court. Formerly a close associate of President Abdulla Yameen, Nazim had fallen out of favour after a feud with then-Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.
Suood meanwhile said that the Supreme Court has not responded to a complaint filed over delays to Nazim’s appeal, which was stalled after the court transferred two transferred two of the five presiding High Court judges to a regional branch in the south.
“We’ve complained to the High Court and since it was a Supreme Court decision that is affecting the hearings we have even submitted a formal complaint to the apex court. But we haven’t heard from them too,” he said.
Nazim’s team of lawyers are also working with Amnesty International to petition the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The specialised UN agency last month ruled that the imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed was illegal.
“We’ve exhausted all legal means. Now we are trying to submit the case to the UN working group. We believe his detention is arbitrary and hopefully we can go to the UN in November,” Suood said.
Suood reiterated criticism of the appellate courts over the delay in hearing Nazim’s appeal. The case has been stalled since April.
“I call on the High Court and Supreme Court judges to resign if they’ve gotten cold feet to provide justice,” Suood said.