The Maldives Supreme Court on Monday quashed former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 13-year jail term, granted by a lower court in 2015 on charges of terrorism. Reviewing the conviction, the country’s top court said Nasheed was wrongfully charged, and the criminal court should not have proceeded to trial, Maldives Independent reported.
Emerging from the Supreme Court in Male, Nasheed told reporters that his political career was not over. The verdict has “made it clear” that he was put on trial at the instance of former President Abdulla Yameen, Nasheed claimed.
In a tweet, Nasheed expressed his “deepest gratitude to the people of Maldives”.
The Supreme Court had on October 30 suspended Nasheed’s sentence and ordered the government and law enforcement agencies to comply with its decision until it reviewed the charges of terrorism against Nasheed. The announcement followed the election of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party as president.
The island nation has been embroiled in political unrest since Nasheed, who became its first democratically elected leader in 2008, was forced to quit amid a mutiny by the police in 2012.
Nasheed was booked under anti-terrorism laws in 2015 and sent to prison for 13 years after Yameen came to power. A number of countries had then said these were politically motivated charges. A year later, the United Kingdom granted Nasheed asylum when he was allowed to travel there for medical treatment. Since then, he has lived in the UK and Sri Lanka.
Nasheed was among the political prisoners the Supreme Court had ordered released in February. But Yameen’s government defied the order and declared a state of emergency that continued for 45 days. Soon after Yameen declared emergency, security forces stormed the Supreme Court in a midnight crackdown and arrested two judges, including the chief justice.