Lawmaker Faris Maumoon has been released from custody after six months by the criminal court.
He was arrested on charges of bribery last July, following which he was remanded in custody until the end of his trial. He is the son of opposition leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The criminal court Thursday set three conditions for his release: not attempting to influence or tamper with evidence against him; getting the court’s permission before any travels out of the capital, Malé, and attending court hearings.
His sister, Yumna Maumoon, tweeted: “The criminal court has just ordered the release of my younger brother MP Faris. Thank God.”
Former president Mohamed Nasheed tweeted a “welcome back” message.
The court ordered his release after lawyers appealed for permission to have an independent third party analyse forensic evidence related to Faris’s phone.
Defence lawyers questioned the authenticity of an image on the phone which was being used by the prosecution as evidence, noting it was received 10 days after the court ordered the phone’s confiscation.
The court granted permission for the independent analysis after the prosecution did not object to it.
Ordering the release, Judge Ali Adam said the lawmaker had spent a long time under detention without any allegation of an attempt to influence or tamper with evidence. He also noted that due to his detention, Faris was unable to get adequate counsel from his legal team, which was a right guaranteed under the country’s constitution.
A hearing for the ongoing trial is scheduled for next week when defence lawyers will present to the court how they want to conduct the independent analysis of the lawmaker’s phone.
This is a developing story and will be updated.