Legal Politics

High Court upholds 10-year prison term for ex-defence minister

The High Court Tuesday upheld a 10-year prison term for former defence minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan over the arrest of a judge in 2011.

Tholhath was convicted of terrorism and sentenced in April 2015 for the arbitrary arrest of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

The judge’s three-week detention at the military training base on the island of Girifushi sparked anti-government protests, culminating in then-president Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation in the wake of a violent mutiny by police and army elements on February 7, 2012.

At Tuesday’s hearing the apex court supported the lower court’s verdict to keep the ex-minister in prison for 10 years.

The decision came several months after he filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence. The first appeal hearing was scheduled in 2016.

Tholhath has been under house arrest since April 2016.

According to the Criminal Court’s verdict, evidence and witness testimonies proved the ex-minister had planned and executed the judge’s arrest on orders from Nasheed.

Senior members of the Maldives National Defence Force, including former Captain Ali Ihusan and the Chief of Defence Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam, testified against Tholhath.

Nasheed was also convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison over the arbitrary arrest of the judge, but he sought asylum in the UK after the Maldives Correctional Service granted him medical leave.

Former brigadier general and MP Ibrahim Mohamed Didi is currently on trial while former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel was acquitted of the terrorism charges.

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