Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, jailed on terrorism charges, has pleaded Criminal Court to transfer him to house arrest, instead of keeping him detained.
Gayoom beseeched the judge at the preliminary trial hearing for the obstruction of justice charge against him, held on Tuesday.
Gayoom said that due to his old age and health condition, it is possible that he could face the danger of having no one to aid him if he suffers a medical incident, as he is being kept in a lone cell.
Gayoom pleaded the judge to ease his confinement or in the least to transfer him to house arrest for humanity’s sake. He also said that he doesn’t believe he should be kept in custody.
Gayoom also said that all the medical documents detailing his health condition, along with a letter, have been submitted to the Criminal Court.
In response to Gayoom’s plea, presiding Judge Adam Arif said the documents that were submitted does not show any relation to the case being carried out at the hearing. He said he would respond after going over the documents and if the detainment is in relation to another case against Gayoom, then it should be reviewed by the judge presiding over that particular case, he said.
Gayoom was given 10 days to assign a lawyer during Tuesday’s hearing. Speaking to the press after the hearing, Gayoom’s lawyer Hussain Shameem said they are facing difficulties in meeting with Gayoom while in detainment and that Gayoom asked for 15 days to assign a lawyer. Stating that it is possible to allow more than 10 days, the judge gave only 10 days to assign a lawyer, Hussain Shameem said.
Gayoom’s lawyer said the judge could have eased Gayoom’s confinement due to his ill health, but didn’t.
“Legally it can be done. The presiding judge has the power to determine how to handle the remand, but it seems the judge did not want to do it”, Shameem said.
Shameem also said the Prosecutor General did not object to having Gayoom transferred to house arrest. He said he would raise this point at other case hearings as well and that he hopes they get a swift response to the letter Gayoom submitted to court.
Accusations against Gayoom include: offering bribes to lawmakers in an attempt to unlawfully overthrow the government, bribing judges, encouraging members of the security forces to turn against the government, attempting to destroy evidence and attempting to commit a terrorism offence.
Gayoom and two top court justices have been in detention since their arrest on February 5. All three have denied the accusations against them