Former defence minister Mohamed Nazim’s appeal of a weapons smuggling conviction and Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla’s terrorism trial are “lost in judicial bureaucracy,” lawyers have said.
The Supreme Court’s decision to divide the nine-member High Court bench to three branches has stalled appeals filed over Nazim’s conviction and Imran’s continued detention.
Imran was transferred from a remand center to a low-security prison this week without explanation. Only one hearing in his terrorism trial has been held since June. He is charged with inciting violence at a historic antigovernment protest.
The criminal court, meanwhile, has said it is building a new courtroom to hold further hearings, but it is not clear when the court room will be built.
Both Nazim and Imran’s family have expressed concern over their health.
Nazim is serving an 11-year jail sentence. An appeal which began in mid-June was stalled half-way when two of the five-judges were transferred to a newly created High Court branch in the south.
Husnu Suood, who represents both Nazim and Imran, said the former minister’s family has requested the Civil Court to allow him to travel abroad for treatment.
“The case has not been scheduled and it is unclear whether the court has even accepted the case,” he said.
Nazim’s brother Adam Azim told The Maldives Independent that the retired colonel’s eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and that doctors at the Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) were unable to reach a definitive diagnosis.
Doctors have recommended that Nazim be sent abroad for treatment when he was brought to Malé for the latest doctor’s consultation last week, Azim said.
The Maldives Correctional Services said it is unaware of a doctor’s recommendation for treatment abroad.
Suood said the Criminal Court’s decision to hold Imran in custody until his trial concludes has been appealed at the High Court.
The appellate court has not given any information on when the appeal will be held, also because of the transfer of judges to regional branches.
The division of the High Court was mandated by amendments to the Judicature Act last December.
The international community has urged the Maldives to release all political prisoners, including former President Mohamed Nasheed. The government claims that there are no political prisoners in the Maldives.