Male, March 15 (IANS) The Maldives High Court on Sunday dismissed former president Mohamed Nasheed’s appeal against his arrest order.
The court threw out Nasheed’s appeal against his February 22 arrest as he refused to enter the courtroom for the first hearing of his appeal case in protest because the hearing was not open to the public.
Ahead of the court hearing scheduled at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nasheed’s legal team had requested that the court hold an open and public hearing. However, only members of Nasheed’s legal team and family were allowed inside the courtroom, said Maldivian broadcasting company vnews.
The news site, quoting sources, said Nasheed refused to enter the courtroom after the court turned down his request for an open hearing.
The court also noted that it held the authority to carry out a closed hearing, despite Nasheed’s legal team requesting for an open one.
Nasheed had appealed against the arrest order issued by the criminal court directing he be detained until the end of his terror trial by the court, stating that he had a history of “evading courts”.
Nasheed and several top officials of his administration face terror charges for the controversial military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012 when Nasheed was in power. The court on Friday had found Nasheed guilty of the charges pressed against him, and sentenced him to a 13-year jail term.
“Nasheed is found guilty of arresting and illegally detaining judge Abdulla Mohamed,” judge Abdulla Didi told the court in an order shortly before midnight on Friday.
Nasheed, meanwhile, was quoted by his office as saying: “I appeal to all of you today to stay courageous and strong, to confront the dictatorial power of this regime.”
Meanwhile, his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has decided to launch a national civil disobedience campaign to free Nasheed.
A resolution passed at an MDP national council meeting declared that the party does not accept the conviction and sentencing of its party chief.
The conviction on charges of terrorism effectively bars Nasheed from contesting the presidential elections in 2018.
Nasheed had called on supporters to confront President Abdulla Yameen’s “dictatorial regime” and “to take all of your lives in your hands and to go out onto the streets in protest”.
The MDP has called for mass protests in Male against Nasheed’s conviction.
Nasheed will remain the party’s president and 2018 presidential candidate, MP for Galholhu North MP Eva Abdulla said.
India, in a statement on Saturday, voiced deep concern at the developments in Maldives and said it is monitoring the situation closely.
Human rights group Amnesty International has termed the conviction as deeply flawed and a politically motivated travesty of justice.
The US embassy in Sri Lanka also said it was “particularly troubled” by reports that the trial was not in line with Maldivian law and the country’s international obligations.
The Human Rights Commission of Maldives has noted that during the criminal court proceedings against Nasheed on charges of terrorism, “there were concerns regarding the due process of law, in that certain rights as stipulated in the Constitution as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were not fully ensured”.