Lawyer Clooney attends ex-Maldives leader's appeal hearing

AP News
Posted: Sep 09, 2015 11:23 AM
Lawyer Clooney attends ex-Maldives leader's appeal hearing

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney attended a hearing Wednesday to appeal a 13-year jail sentence given to the Maldives' former president and met with the attorney general to discuss the case.

Clooney is part of a three-member international legal team trying to secure Mohamed Nasheed's release.

There was no decision after Wednesday's preliminary hearing, and no details were given of Clooney's meeting with Attorney General Mohamed Anil.

Nasheed was sentenced to jail in March after a lower court found him guilty of terrorism for ordering the arrest of a senior judge when he was president in 2012. The court said the arrest by the military was akin to abduction, a crime under the terrorism law.

Nasheed's sentencing sparked nightly protests and drew widespread international condemnation that his trial was flawed.

The government later began negotiations with Nasheed's party and transferred him to house arrest, raising hopes of a pardon. The talks broke down after authorities decided to appeal the case in court and put Nasheed back in jail, saying the house arrest was only a temporary measure in consideration of his health.

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Nasheed told the High Court on Wednesday that the prosecutor general had no authority to appeal, and the prosecutor responded that he appealed on behalf of the state.

Nasheed became the country's first democratically elected president in 2008, ending 30 years of autocratic rule by the half-brother of current President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The judge's arrest created public anger, forcing Nasheed to resign after he lost support from the military and the police.

Nasheed failed in his attempt to return to power in a 2013 presidential election.