June 14, 2018:
They both received sentences of 19 months and six days.
On Wednesday, a Court in Maldives convicted Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Sitting Chief Justice for obstruction of justice and sentenced them to 19 months in prison.
Trials are widely seen as part of a plan by President Abdulla Yameen to tighten his grip on the power ahead of the elections in September at which he seeks a second five-year term against an opposition yet to decide on a single candidate. Although the Government denies this.
Maldives is a country of 400,000 people is popular among the tourists but has seen political unrest since its first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, was forced to quit amid a police mutiny in 2012.
Nasheed was convicted of terrorism charges in 2015 and sentenced to 13 years after a trial criticized as unfair.
Gayoom, who is Country’s longest serving leader, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed were found guilty on Wednesday after they were charged for refusing to hand over their mobile phones for a police investigation.
Maldives has faced upheaval since February, when Yameen, half brother of Gayoom, imposed a 45-day state of Emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions of nine opposition leaders, including Nasheed.
During the emergency, Authorities arrested the three men and a Supreme Court Administrator on charges of trying to overthrow the government. They still face those charges.
Saeed and Hameed refused opportunity to make a closing argument stating that their lawyers had earlier quit, citing grave procedural defects with the trial.
Criminal Court Judge Hassan Najeeb refused multiple appeals by the defendants to be given time to appoint new lawyers.