COLOMBO AFP Nov26, 2018 - The Maldives top court overturned a terrorism conviction on Monday against the country’s first democratically elected leader Mohamed Nasheed, who fled into exile after being sentenced to 13 years behind bars.
The Supreme Court said Nasheed was wrongfully charged and should not have been convicted in the 2015 trial described by the United Nations as politically motivated.
Nasheed went into exile a year later while abroad seeking medical treatment, and was branded a fugitive from justice.
“President Nasheed’s entire trial was a politically-motivated sham,” his lawyer, Hisaan Hussein, said after his conviction was quashed.
“It is appalling that an innocent man was unjustly forced to spend a year in jail, 35 months in exile, and was prevented from standing for political office.” The opposition icon only returned to the Maldives this month after his political rival Abdulla Yameen, who ruled the Maldives with an iron fist for five years, was beaten in a presidential election.
The strongman president jailed or exiled most of his opponents but since he departed office political prisoners have been freed and opponents abroad have returned.