The high court has released prominent social media activist Thayyib Shaheem on the condition that he refrains from defaming the government.
Thayyib was arrested on suspicion of inciting fear and panic about the H1N1 swine flu virus and sowing discord among the public with false information on social media. The criminal court remanded the 42-year-old to police custody thrice since his arrest on March 17.
His lawyer Nazim Sattar told the Maldives Independent that the appellate court overturned the criminal court’s second order on the condition that Thayyib allows the police access to his personal electronics for 60 days and seeks permission before leaving the country.
“We asked that he be released with conditions and he agreed to these conditions,” the lawyer said.
Nazim said the high court observed in its judgment that Thayyib has already spent nearly a month in detention. He also noted that if Thayyib is prosecuted for the offences he was accused of, “the three-month baseline for jail time will decrease to a fine as it is his first offence.”
According to his arrest form, Thayyib’s charges include raising a false alarm, a class one misdemeanour that is defined in the penal code as providing false information either about an imminent violent offence or “a situation that is serious to human life”.
The second charge is disorderly conduct under section 615 of the penal code, which is defined as “creating a hazardous, physically offensive or seriously alarming condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.”
The first offence carries a maximum jail term of one year and the second a maximum of three months.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent