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Maldives SC quashes Nasheed’s conviction

My political career is not over, says former President

The Maldives Supreme Court on Monday quashed former President Mohamed Nasheed’s terrorism conviction and overturned his 13-year jail sentence.

Mr. Nasheed pulled out of the presidential race earlier this year after the Maldives Election Commission barred him from contesting, citing his controversial 2015 conviction for detaining Criminal Court judge Abdulla Ghazee during his presidency in 2012. However, the Supreme Court on Monday said Mr. Nasheed had been “wrongfully charged” and that he should not have been convicted in the 2015 trial that has been widely criticised as “politically motivated”.

Following the judgment, Mr. Nasheed said it made evident that he was put on trial “by the influence of” former President Abdulla Yameen, Male-based media reported. “It is clear that my political career is not over,” Mr. Nasheed told The Hindu from Male.

Life in exile

Since his conviction in 2015, Mr. Nasheed was in exile, after obtaining prison leave for medical treatment abroad. He lived in London and more recently in Colombo, from where he continued his political activism. Things began changing for the leader after a coalition led by his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ousted incumbent President Yameen in a high-stakes election held in September.

Common candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won with 58.4 % of the ballot.

The apex court suspended Mr. Nasheed’s sentence last month, following a request from the Prosecutor General for a review of the earlier verdict. The October 30 order came days ahead of his arrival in Male, ending his nearly three-year exile.

The MDP welcomed the development in a statement. Mr. Nasheed’s legal counsel Hisaan Hussein said: “I am pleased by today’s judgment, which proves that President Nasheed should never have been arrested, let alone convicted of terrorism.”

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