Legal Politics

Civil Court can hear Adheeb’s medical leave appeal, claim defendants

adheeb (1)

Former VP Ahmed Adheeb escorted back to prison after a court hearing. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb’s lawyers claimed in court on Sunday that the Civil Court has the jurisdiction to hear Adheeb’s case seeking a court order that would allow him to go abroad for medical treatment, despite the state claiming otherwise.

The state last Thursday raised several procedural issues with Adheeb’s case and asked the court to declare that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear his case.

It had also pointed out that two key steps were missing from the former vice president’s request to leave abroad. One was the recommendation and review from a specialist doctor at state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), which had to be concurred by another doctor from the same department. The other missing procedure in Adheeb’s request, as highlighted by the state, was the approval letter from the state medical board, signed by the Commissioner of Prisons.

The defence, however, insisted in court on Sunday that it does have the jurisdiction to hear Adheeb’s case, and stated that it was “irresponsible” of the state to ask the court to declare that it did not have authority to do so.

Further, Adheeb’s lawyers also pointed out that the two procedural issues raised by the state were things that Adheeb had no control over. They noted how neither the defendant nor his family are given the medical documents from the hospital and stated that the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) is required to take these steps on Adheeb’s behalf since he is in custody.

“The reasons put forth by the state are circumstances that Ahmed Adheeb has no control over. Therefore, there is no reason why the Civil Court cannot hear this case over these alleged procedural issues raised by the state,” the statement from Adheeb’s lawyers read.

During Sunday’s hearing, the defence had also raised the issue of MSC ignoring Adheeb’s doctor’s order to keep him away from dusty areas. They argued that the area that Adheeb is kept in Dhoonidhoo Prison is not a safe environment for him.

Expanding further on the topic, the former vice president’s lawyers also said that the state overlooks certain matters when it comes to his care, and cited the incident where MSC had allegedly tried to administer a dubious injection to Adheeb without revealing the full details of the procedure to his family, in their argument.

Adheeb’s family had on multiple counts sought permission from the government to send the former vice president abroad for medical treatment, claiming that he was suffering from glaucoma. They also accused the authorities of not providing sufficient treatment for Adheeb, and that his eyesight was deteriorating.

However, the government continued to deny permission, stating that the risk of Adheeb absconding was too high to allow him to leave the country. The authorities further stated that Adheeb would be granted permission once he returned all the embezzled state funds, for which he was convicted.

Adheeb is currently serving a jail sentence of 33 years, convicted for his involvement in the largest corruption scandal in the history of the Maldives, and for orchestrating an assassination attempt on President Abdulla Yameen in September 2015.

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