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December 2018
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News Headlines
1st Test: India in cruise control as Australia reduced to 104/4 chasing 323        Over 16000 runners take part in Pune Half Marathon        India's coal output up 10% to 156 MT during Apr-Nov        Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police        Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes        Can special consideration be shown to man with skin disorder: HC asks Centre        BJP files caveat in SC over 'rath yatra' in WB        'Won't hesitate from another surgical strike if need arises'        Kohli booed by Australian fans, Head, Ponting critical of crowd behaviour        Pujara, Rahane put India in driver's seat        Prabhu links creativity & business opportunities to cheap beverages in Goa        Merkel gets boost with ally's party win        Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking        More than 225 terrorists killed in J&K so far this year: Army        Glad key people shedding fear, breaking silence on govt decisions: Chidambaram        Modi used surgical strikes for 'political capital': Rahul        Krishnamurthy Subramanian appointed as Chief Economic Advisor for 3 years        Indian Super League: Kerala Blasters' Hopes Hanging By A Thread After Defeat Against Pune City        31st GST Council to meet on Dec 22 in Delhi        Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports        
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International News
Former president Maldives and chief justice sentenced for obstruction of justice
 
(MALE, June 13, 2018):A court in the Maldives on Wednesday convicted former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the sitting chief justice for obstruction of justice and sentenced them to 19 months in prison.

The trials are widely seen as part of a plan by President Abdulla Yameen to tighten his grip on power ahead of elections in September at which he seeks a second five-year term against an opposition yet to decide on a single candidate. The government denies this.

The country of 400,000 people is popular with 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 the 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.

They received sentences of 19 months and six days.

The Indian Ocean island chain 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 the 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 the opportunity to make a closing argument saying 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.

Najeeb said it was clear from “anonymous testimonies” that the defendants had mobile phones and refused to comply with a police investigation and requests to hand over their devices and this represented obstruction of justice.

The opposition has accused Yameen’s government of jailing leaders who could challenge Yameen’s re-election bid, a charge the government denies.

Rights group Amnesty International said in a statement the convictions are politically motivated and should be quashed because the trials did not meet international standards.

Athul Keshap, the U.S. Ambassador for Maldives said in a tweet that an unfair trial with no defense witnesses or defense lawyers would always result in an unfair sentence.

“Judges cannot serve the cause of fair and impartial justice if they fear the Executive. When will the people of #Maldives see the restoration of rule of law?,” Keshap said on Twitter.

Gayoom told the court he denied the charges and said the trial was unfair. Najeeb said the trial was conducted in accordance with the law.

Dunya Maumoon, the daughter of Gayoom, who resigned from Yameen’s government after her father was arrested, said her family was deeply shocked by the convictions.


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