Lawyers slam legitimacy of alleged coup’s “evidence bag”

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom being escorted by the police on February 6, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / HUSSEN WAHEED

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom being escorted by the police on February 6, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / HUSSEN WAHEED

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawyer said on Tuesday that the “black bag”, with evidence relating to the alleged attempted coup earlier this month, was found after President Abdulla Yameen had claimed such a box would soon be found.

The bag, which allegedly contains evidence against thirteen individuals accused of taking and accepting bribes for an attempted coup. was found in the residence of an employee of Gayoom, Najma Ibrahim. Police said that they had found several documents which give evidence for the ongoing bribery cases.

The police had revealed that a document obtained from the bag contained details of Gayoom’s lawmaker son, Faris Maumoon, meeting and attempting to influence two Supreme Court (SC) judges.

Credible sources say that the bag was found on February 6, during a second raid on Najma’s residence, and that it contained three laptops. They added that the bag had been there when Najma’s home was searched initially. During the first raid on her house, the police had seized only a headscarf and a mobile phone.

Lawyers have been raising various questions about the “evidence bag”, such as when the bag was seized from Najma’s house and why none of the accused have been formally informed of evidence found against them for alleged bribery and staging a coup. For these reasons, lawyers such as Hussain Shameem have been claiming that no such evidence has been found.

“The bag was found a day after President Yameen said such a bag would be found … He had also said that this bag would contain evidence, a lot of evidence,” said Shameem.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed said that the police had previously found such “evidence”, hinting at the case of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, in whose residence the police had found a pistol in a bag. While Nazim had claimed innocence and jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb, whose DNA was found on the pistol, had later declared that there was no connection between the pistol and Nazim, the former minister was convicted and is currently serving 11 years for weapons possession.

While police found evidence for bribery, Gayoom, his son Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, his son-in-law Mohamed Nadheem, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and SC judge Ali Hameed along with several others have been arrested under these accusations of bribery and coup attempt.

After the arrest of the two SC judges, the remaining three justices had revoked the initial verdict of SC to release the political leaders.

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