The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal against the terrorism conviction of Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla in February last year.
Five months after the appeal was filed, the Supreme Court’s registrar informed Imran’s lawyers on Tuesday that there were no grounds to challenge the High Court’s decision to uphold the 12-year jail sentence.
The apex court bench decided not to accept the appeal because there were “no judicial or legal reasons” to overturn the lower appellate court ruling, the registrar added.
Imran was sentenced to 12 years in jail over his speech at a 25,000-strong protest march in May 2015. The widely condemned conviction marked the first terrorism sentence passed in the Maldives over a speech made at a political gathering.
In late October, Imran was abruptly taken back to Maafushi jail after a month under house arrest. He was transferred home after his wife gave birth to a son.
The Islamist party leader was also released to house arrest for Ramadan this year and taken back after Eid.
At the time, he was taken to a unit designated for inmates convicted of murder and other serious crimes, reportedly as a punishment for giving an interview to Raajje TV in violation of the terms of his house arrest. He was previously kept in a different unit with other jailed politicians.
After nearly a year under house arrest, both Imran and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim were previously taken back to jail amidst a “ramped up crackdown” in the wake of the opposition alliance’s failed bid to remove the speaker of parliament in late March.
The pair were released to house arrest in April last year with the home ministry citing maintenance at the special protection unit at the low-security Asseyri jail on the island of Himmafushi.
The Adhaalath Party was part of the broad coalition that backed President Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 run-off against former president Mohamed Nasheed.
In an unlikely alliance with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party in early 2015, Imran had spearheaded the opposition’s “Maldivians against tyranny” campaign ahead of the historic May Day rally.
Imran had said in his speech that Yameen must come to the “peace table” to negotiate with the opposition if he wants to remain in power.
Scores of protesters and two police officers were injured during violent clashes on the night of May 1. Nearly 200 people, including Imran and other opposition leaders, were arrested.