Legal Politics

Trial for JP leader’s medical leave extension begins

JP leader Qasim Ibrahim being taken back to Dhoonidhoo where he is kept in Police custody

JP leader Qasim Ibrahim being taken back to Dhoonidhoo where he is kept in Police custody

The official trial for Maldives Correctional Service (MCS)’s refusal to grant Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim his medical leave as ordered by his verdict, commenced on Sunday afternoon.

The verdict for the former Maamigili MP’s bribery conviction in late August ordered authorities to make arrangements for him to leave the country for medical treatment as soon as possible.

However, MCS had only granted him the leave weeks after the sentencing, and despite several letters from his physician in Singapore recommending that the local business magnate remain hospitalised for at least three months to make a full recovery, MCS had claimed that the leave could not be extended any further.

The matter of Qasim’s leave was first taken to the Civil Court’s Dispute Resolution Division. But his lawyer Hisaan Hussain revealed that a peaceful solution could not be reached through arbitration because the Attorney General Mohamed Anil did not want to resolve the matter in the tribunal. He had insisted on taking the matter to court, she revealed.

As it was the first trial, both parties had only filed their respective statements to the court. No further details were revealed.

Qasim, who was given a three-year, two-months and 12-day sentence, is currently in Singapore being treated for a serious cardiac problem.

He was initially given 10-days medical leave on September 6; however, after Qasim’s family consulted with his doctors, they had appealed for a leave extension of three months, till December 2017. MCS had refused at first, but after his lawyers filed the official medical documents, including letters from Qasim’s physician which explicitly stated that he needed to remain hospitalised for further treatments, MCS conceded and granted another 10 days.

Whilst Qasim’s original 10-day leave expired on September 16, the second extension expired on Tuesday, September 26.

An MCS spokesperson had later revealed that the former Maamigili MP was supposed to return on Monday, September 25 – before his leave officially expired.

According to JP sources, Qasim had gone to the airport to fly back to the Maldives before his last leave expired. However, the authorities at Singapore Airlines did not allow him to board the plane “due to his critical health condition, as per the doctor’s recommendation”, the party’s sources said.

The seven-day extension came after his lawyers appealed to MCS to extend Qasim’s medical leave until he is cleared for travel.

According to Qasim’s doctors, he suffers from coronary artery disease which causes the main coronary arteries of the heart to narrow, and if the narrowing becomes critical, the patient can develop chest pains and shortness of breath among other symptoms.

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