High Court upholds ex-VP’s jail sentence over weapons possession

Former Vice President Adheeb escorted out of the Criminal Court. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Former Vice President Adheeb escorted out of the Criminal Court. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

The High Court on Monday upheld the Criminal Court’s verdict sentencing former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb to 10 years in jail for weapons possession.

Adheeb, who had served as President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s deputy for only a few months, was convicted last year of carrying two pistols during a major opposition rally held in May 2015. While Police had been unable to later locate the weapons, two witnesses testified that Adheeb had shown them the pistols on May 1.

Following Adheeb’s appeal of the case, the High Court upheld the Criminal Court’s verdict with the unanimous agreement of the three judges on the bench.

The High Court’s verdict read that the testimonies of the two witnesses prove that Adheeb had been in possession of the weapons on the given day. The verdict also stated that there is no indication that the lower court had violated the Constitution in accepting the witnesses who were put forward by the state. Furthermore, the court said that Adheeb had received the opportunity to question the witnesses as well as sufficient time and chance to prove his innocence.

Adheeb’s lawyers declared that as their client was jailed based on the words of people, the procedure violated the rules of prosecution in a “strict liability” crime.

However, the verdict countered that the state pressed terrorism charges against Adheeb to which “strict liability” does not apply.

In addition to weapon’s possession, Adheeb has been convicted for orchestrating the blast aboard the presidential speedboat in an attempt to assassinate President Yameen in September 2015 and for the embezzlement of MVR 1.2 billion state funds through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

His aggregate jail sentence from these convictions is 33 years.

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