The criminal court has declined a request by state prosecutors to detain Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim until the end of his trial on charges of bribery and attempting to influence voting and official conduct.
The first hearing of the trial on Thursday was closed to the media and members of the public for undisclosed reasons.
According to his lawyers, Gasim pleaded not guilty to all three counts.
Under the new penal code, the bribery charge carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and the separate charges of influencing official conduct and influencing voters carry a maximum jail sentence of four years each.
The MP for the Maamigili constituency will lose his seat if he is found guilty. According to the constitution, a sitting MP will be disqualified if he is jailed for more than one year.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent