The Maldivian Democratic Party condemns in the strongest terms the sentencing of Former Defence Minister, Colonel (Rtd) Nazim to 11 years in jail for weapons smuggling by the Criminal Court.

In an investigation and trial rigged with irregularities, Colonel (Rtd) Nazim was sentenced on the basis that he was not able to disprove the charges levied against him. The Maldivian Democratic Party notes that, similar to the unlawful trial held at the Criminal Court – presided over by the same 3 judges – against President Mohamed Nasheed, the Court obstructed Nazim’s right to a defense. The Court did not allow Nazim’s legal team to submit all their defense witnesses, claiming it would not negate the testimony submitted by State’s witnesses. The Court also refused to address the blatant irregularities evident in the Maldives Police Service’s investigation of the case, ranging from the initial warrant to search the former De fence Minister’s residence to the chain of custody process in relation to the weapons that were supposedly found in his apartment. Despite the state not being able to disprove the contradictions in testimony given by state witnesses and the irregularities in the Police investigation raised by the defense, the Court sentenced Col. (Rtd) Nazim to 11 years in jail.

The sentences against President Mohamed Nasheed and Col. (Rtd) Nazim, arrests of over 120 people, including MP’s and media, and the sending of 90 cases for prosecution against people detained from peaceful protests highlight the politicization of the entire criminal justice system.

‘There is no separation between the Government and the Judiciary in the pursuit of their political objectives. Their attempts to eliminate their political opponents through politically motivated charges and sham trials do not contain even a veneer of due process’ – said Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.