Maldives denies releasing bomb maker in pres boat blast

Security officers tend to the wounded after an IED detonated aboard the presidential speedboat in September last year. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE

Security officers tend to the wounded after an IED detonated aboard the presidential speedboat in September last year. PHOTO/PRESIDENT’S OFFICE

The government on Thursday moved quickly to deny media reports indicating that the soldier who made the bomb which was used in the plot to kill the president has been released and placed under witness protection.

Defence minister Adam Shareef told reporters on Thursday that the media reports “were not entirely true” and the soldier remains in police custody.

Mihaaru along with several other media outlets had found that Mohamed Jawaz who was working in the military explosive ordinance disposal department had made the bomb on Adheeb’s request.

Former president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor was sentenced to 15 years after he was found guilty of orchestrating the blast aboard the presidential speedboat in September last year.

President Yameen escaped unhurt but his spouse Fathimath Ibrahim and a presidential aide was injured in the blast.

Two of his former bodyguards also charged in the case received 10 year prison sentences.

The soldier had testified against Adheeb during the trial as a secret witness.

It is unclear whether Jawaz had been ousted from the military.

It is believed that Jawaz was first held inside the military headquarters along with four other soldiers. After he was released by the military sources say he was taken into custody by the police.

A reliable source told Mihaaru that Jawaz had cooperated with the police during the investigation. In addition to Adheeb and two of his bodyguards, police had originally sought charges against Jawaz.

However, prosecutors had later offered him a deal which would see the charges dropped and get him witness protection if he agreed to be prosecution witness. Sources say Jawaz accepted the deal and was released from police custody in March.

It is believed that Jawaz is still under police protection.

However, the defence minister insisted that the government would not simply release a man who is deemed a threat to national security.

According to Shareef, the military was monitoring Jawaz’s case very closely and confirmed that Jawaz had indeed been suspended.

The minister also assured that the soldier would not escape military action.

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