Legal Politics

Gayoom obstruction trial proceeds despite lawyer boycott

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was left without a lawyer in a hearing after his lawyer boycotted proceedings, saying he was unable to defend him in an ‘arbitrary’ trial.

Gayoom, along with Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, face charges of obstruction for allegedly refusing to hand over their mobile phones for a police investigation. They deny the charge.

Maumoon Hameed announced he was boycotting the trial in a tweet after criticising its “grave procedural defects.”

But the presiding judge in the case moved forward with a hearing late Tuesday, despite Gayoom’s requests for time to appoint a new lawyer.

The presiding judge said the court was not mandated to provide Gayoom more time to appoint a lawyer as he had already an opportunity to do in previous hearings and his lawyer had chosen to drop out of the trial, media reported.

But Gayoom would be free to appoint new lawyers any time he wished, Judge Hassan Najeeb said.

Lawyers representing Saeed and Hameed also asked the judge to give Gayoom time to appoint a lawyer and prosecutors said they did not object to a delay in the hearing.

“The way that the Criminal Court and the Prosecutor General have acted with regard to the obstruction of justice charge against my client… violates standards set forth in the criminal procedure code and the constitutional rights of my client,” said Maumoon Hameed.

“Therefore, I am excusing myself from this trial as I am unable to defend my client’s rights in a trial conducted in this manner.”

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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