Maldives sentences two drug smugglers for life

During the police operation to bust the drugs smuggled via an Iranian boat to the Maldives. PHOTO/POLICE

During the police operation to bust the drugs smuggled via an Iranian boat to the Maldives. PHOTO/POLICE

The Criminal Court on Monday sentenced two men to life imprisonment and a penalty of MVR 100,000 for smuggling 24 kilograms of drugs into the Maldives by sea.

The two men are Abdulla Sofwath and Ismail Moosa of capital Male who smuggled illegal drugs worth a market price of MVR 100 million in March 2014.

Details of the case presided by Chief Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf have not been disclosed yet. However, Mihaaru has found out that the two men are sentenced for life with their penalties to be paid within a period of one month.

The court trials of the drug case had been turbulent and raised doubts whether the state could win the case as the defence had pointed out that some witnesses of the state had provided contradictory testimonies during the investigation and in hearings. Defence lawyers had also alleged that the prosecution had found evidence via illegal means.

Police had carried out a long operation at sea to seize the drugs that were brought to the Maldives in an Iranian boat and later smuggled inside a dinghy. The drugs were seized while the dinghy was docked at reclaimed suburb Hulhumale, marking the largest drug bust of that time.

The state had pressed charges against 18 people over the smuggling case but all except Sofwath and Moosa were eventually released due to lack of evidence.

The prosecution also pressed additional charges against Ismail Moosa with regards to the case. However, the court had halted proceedings over procedural violations during the investigation.

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