The Supreme Court has been asked to summon several high-profile witnesses in light of alleged new evidence that could prove former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was framed by the police.
In an hour-long statement delivered at a preliminary appeal hearing this morning, Nazim’s lawyer Husnu Suood said the evidence will show a policeman named Asif planted a pistol in Nazim’s bedroom after a warrant for raiding his apartment was obtained on false pretences.
Suood told the apex court that then-Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb had met with then-Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin at the latter’s residence on the eve of the midnight raid on January 18 last year.
After a “frantic and worried” Adeeb told the PG that Nazim was planning to kill him, Suood claimed Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed came over a few minutes later, made a phone call, and instructed Station Inspector Azmath Abdulla to seek a warrant from the criminal court’s chief judge.
Then-Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was told the raid was based on an intelligence report.
But Suood said there was no such report. The police also withheld crucial information from the judge such as the suspect’s name and residence, he said.
Suood also claimed that Adeeb, Muhsin, and Waheed were waiting in a parked car outside Nazim’s residence while the raid was ongoing.
“Their presence at the scene has still not been looked into or explained,” he said, asking the court to summon all three as witnesses.
Suood also asked the court to summon Judge Abdulla and the police officer who sought the warrant.
The former chief judge was abruptly transferred to the family court on February 21.
Hussain Waheed was transferred to the housing ministry on the eve of Adeeb’s arrest over the September 28 explosion on the president’s speedboat.
Adeeb and Muhsin were meanwhile handed lengthy jail sentences last week over alleged plots to remove President Abdulla Yameen from power.
Nazim was also accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
Suood also pointed out inconsistencies in the testimony of police officers during Nazim’s trial.
While one policeman had testified that the black bag and its contents were put into an evidence bag, Suood noted that the chain of custody report stated that they were put in separately within minutes of each other.
He also highlighted several procedural lapses by the police, including the decision to break down Nazim’s front door, the failure to show Nazim the court warrant in a timely manner, and the failure to video tape the raid.
Suood claimed the SWAT team spent 10 to 15 minutes in Nazim’s bedroom.
Despite the criminal court ruling that Nazim must bear criminal responsibility for the weapon found in his bedroom, Suood argued that a third party must have been involved as fingerprints lifted from the pistol did not match Nazim’s.
Suood further argued that the testimony of Captain Ali Ihusan during the High Court hearings undermines the prosecution’s case.
According to Ihusan’s testimony, the pistol found in Nazim’s bedroom was the same of type found in a weapons cache discovered submerged near an uninhabited island last November.
The same techniques and paint had been used to scratch off the serial numbers of both weapons, Ihusan said.
The military had acknowledged that the weapons found near the island of Hibalhidhoo in Baa atoll included firearms that had gone missing from the state armoury.
Suood went on to note due process violations during Nazim’s trial, including the criminal court’s refusal to call all but four of 50 defence witnesses as well as the failure to hand over crucial documents.
“Nazim was not afforded adequate time and opportunity in a fair manner to defend himself from the crimes he had been accused of,” the former attorney general contended.
Nazim was framed and prosecuted on “trumped up charges” in order to destroy his political career, Suood said, urging the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed concluded proceedings today after announcing that the prosecution “will be given the opportunity to respond very soon.”
The full five-member bench of the Supreme Court is hearing the appeal.
Nazim is currently under house arrest after he was transferred to Malé in late April upon his return from Singapore.
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