A hearing in the trial for charges raised against Abdulla Ali Manik and Mohamed Thasleem in connection with the assassination attempt on Speaker of Parliament and Former President Mohamed Nasheed, has been cancelled.
The hearing was scheduled for 11:15am on Monday.
In the last hearing held in connection with the terrorism charges raised against the two, both suspects had asserted that they did not wish to proceed with the defense’s witness testimonies further.
In an earlier hearing, the state prosecutors had also stated that they did not wish to collect any more testimonies from state-presented witnesses. These were secret witnesses presented in connection with the case.
The state prosecutors had claimed that they had enough witness testimonies in the case.
With this, presiding Judge Ali Adam had declared that the witness testimony collection stage had concluded. The next stage revolves around debating on evidence and a summary statement.
During a hearing held on 6 November 2022, a secret witness submitted in connection with the case had revealed himself and talked about the case.
As such, the secret witness had exposed himself several times despite voice modifications. The witness claimed that he was being coerced into giving testimonies against the suspect. The secret witness went on to make massive accusations, claiming that he was tortured and coerced into making the testimony. The secret witness went on speaking, interfering the judge as he attempted to speak. The state prosecutors requested the judge to halt the hearing, at that point.
Although Thasleem’s defence attorney had earlier requested to proceed the trial behind closed doors, the hearings are open to the public.
In an earlier hearing in connection with the case, the state submitted evidence against the suspects, including secret witnesses, anonymous testimonies as well as other evidence including police intel reports, those who compiled the report, mobile forensic reports and those who compiled it as well as a resolution by the President’s Office, submitted to prove terrorist links to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
During an earlier hearing held on 2 November 2021, the presiding judge revealed that the court also believes the suspects committed a major crime and that both of them have criminal records.
He also added that there is room to believe they could be a threat to national security and could possibly attempt to tamper with the evidence. With this, the court reached the decision to keep them remanded pending sentencing.
The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) forwarded charges against the two, on 19 October 2021.
Charges against the suspects were raised under Article 16-1 (a) 1 and (b) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, for supporting a terrorist organization.
Maldives Police Service (MPS) earlier revealed that Thasleem was arrested from Addu City and findings indicate that he was one of the masterminds behind the assassination attempt. He was also someone who raised the suggestion to kill Nasheed.
Ali Manik is to have been involved in the clash in Himandhoo island of Alif Alif atoll in 2007 and was jailed for 10 years in connection with the case.
The police institution in July revealed that 10 suspects had been arrested in total. Shortly after the attack on May 6, authorities had announced plans to bring in foreign investigators to assist in the investigation.
Nasheed was targeted in an assassination attempt on May 6, as he was heading out to attend an event on an island. The attack, which saw a remote-controlled IED explode near his residence in the center of congested Malé City, caused serious injuries to the ex-president who was rushed to the hospital within seven minutes after being knocked to the ground by the blast, which was dubbed far more powerful than a similar explosion in Malé City's Sultan Park, in 2007.
The shrapnel pieces from the bomb blast caused immense damage to Nasheed's internal organs but had missed some vital arteries and organs. A shrapnel piece struck his rib, which otherwise would have struck his heart, leading to a fatality. Speaker Nasheed underwent 16 hours of live-saving surgery at ADK hospital.
Nasheed returned to Maldives in October 2021, after nearly five months abroad.