Maldives ex-president will not appeal 13-year jail sentence

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 6:27 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Maldives' jailed ex-president will not appeal his 13-year sentence because the court has not released all documents from the first hearing to prepare a case, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Hassan Latheef said the deadline to appeal the sentence against former President Mohamed Nasheed expires Sunday.

The Maldives government says however the court was unable to release the case report because Nasheed had refused to sign it.

Nasheed's next step is not immediately known. His supporters are holding nightly protests in the capital and other islands in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation calling for his release.

Nasheed was sentenced to prison earlier this month for ordering the arrest of a senior judge when he was in office three years ago. The court said that the arrest was akin to abduction under the country's terrorism law.

The trial drew wide local and international criticism that it was rushed and had many flaws.

The trial was completed in three weeks from the day he was charged.

Nasheed's lawyers said the court did not give them enough time to prepare a defense and rejected witnesses even before they testified. Also the court overruled an objection that two of the judges had a conflict of interest because they had testified against Nasheed at the initial police inquiry.

In response to the criticism the Maldives government had invited the United Nations and Commonwealth to send observers for the appeal process.

Nasheed's victory in the country's first multiparty election in 2008 ended a 30-year autocracy, but he resigned in 2012 amid public anger over the arrest of the judge.

In 2013 Nasheed lost the presidential election to Yameen Abdul Gayoom, a half-brother of the longtime autocrat.

Known for its luxury resort islands, Maldives has had a difficult transition to democracy. Most of its institutions, especially courts, are underdeveloped and perceived to be loyal to the Gayooms.