The High Court on Tuesday upheld the Criminal Court’s verdict to add 15 days to the remand of arrested Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim.
Qasim had appealed the lower court’s verdict after he was arrested under accusations of bribery, undue influence and working to unlawfully topple the government.
The High Court’s verdict read that as Police have submitted enough evidence that creates suspicion and accusation against Qasim, the Criminal Court’s order to arrest the lawmaker of Maamigili constituency is lawful. The High Court added that evidence enough to create accusation, not to prove accusations, is necessary to issue an arrest warrant.
Whereas the court order to arrest Qasim had been issued on request of the Prosecutor General as per the Parliamentary Privileges Act, his legal team had appealed his remand as it was the police that had requested a remand at the Criminal Court.
The High Court’s verdict responded that the Privileges Act stipulates that only the arrest warrant be issued on request of the Prosecutor General for lawmakers, a regulation which does not apply to remand requests.
Qasim Ibrahim’s legal team also protested at the High Court that the judge who passed Qasim’s remand was the same judge that had issued the arrest warrant. However, the High Court countered that Qasim’s lawyers had failed to present a valid reason as to why the same judge should not be allowed to pass Qasim’s remand, dismissing the lawyers’ claim that the interests of the judge play into the case.
The High Court’s Judges Bench presiding over the case comprised Chief Judge Abdulla Didi, Judge Abdulla Hameed and Judge Ali Sameer.
The High Court had initially ordered Qasim Ibrahim’s release on his first arrest as the court order to arrest him had been issued on request of the police, thus violating the Parliamentary Privileges Act. Hence, the court order for his second arrest was sought directly by the Prosecutor General in compliance with the Act.
The state is pressing three charges against Qasim Ibrahim for attempted bribery, coercion with regards to official duties and undue influence on voters. His trial at the Criminal Court is currently ongoing.