Terrorism related charges were raised against MP Abdulla Riyaz in order to keep him out of opposition activities, says Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz.
Riyaz, the deputy leader of Jumhoree Party (JP) and former police commissioner, was presented to court on Wednesday for the first preliminary hearing on his terror trial.
While reading out the charges, state prosecutors said that Riyaz had been involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government since 2017, in which the conspirators had issued a Supreme Court order which threatened national security and obstructed the state.
Riyaz said he was not clear on the charges and wants to proceed with a lawyer. He also said that a thorough enough investigation was not done when considering the seriousness of the crime. Police had taken only half a paragraph statement from him but did not question him on any crime, Riyaz said.
He also noted that neither his phone nor house were searched and that police had not found any incriminating evidence against him. Riyaz added that he found out that police had sent his case for prosecution on TV.
Riyaz said he has been in jail since being arrested at a protest on March 2 under the state of emergency decree and had his remand extended in court without legal representation. While the court stated that his remand hearing would be rescheduled with a lawyer, the High Court has overturned a ‘not guilty’ verdict on him and given him a jail term.
Riyaz, who has not received legal representation in any part of the case, has now been given five days to assign a lawyer.
If found guilty, he will face 17 to 20 years in prison.