Court orders for terror suspects to remain in custody pending outcome of trial

The Criminal Court has ordered two suspects arrested in connection to the May 6 terror attack to be kept in detention pending outcome of trial.

At a remand hearing held Tuesday, the State argued that the two suspects, Abdulla Ali Manik and Mohamed Thasleem, are accused of serious crimes, and releasing them would be a danger to society. The State requested the pair, both of whom have been charged with supporting a terrorist organization, to be kept in detention pending the outcome of trial.

During their previous remand hearing, the Criminal Court allowed them the opportunity to hire lawyers to represent them in court. However, only Thasleem appointed a lawyer.

During Tuesday's hearing, Ali Manik reiterated his request to allow him leniencies with conditions. He said that he did not have adequate opportunity to appoint a lawyer as he was in detention. He further expressed that his lengthy detention had caused him and his family to be psychologically affected.

Thasleem's lawyer, Ahmed Shafiu, argued in court that he does not understand how the State deemed Thasleem's actions as a serious criminal offense. While another Criminal Court judge has previously set the terms for crimes that are considered serious, it must be taken into account when deeming an action as a serious crime, said Shafiu.

However, State attorney Ahmed Naushad said Thasleem had already been charged in connection to the IED blast and that trial was ongoing. While the law shows that his actions are a serious criminal offense, the circumstances surrounding Thasleem's case must be considered, and the suspect must remain in custody until the trial is concluded, he said. Thasleem's lawyer, in response, then argued that only the current charges must be considered when deciding on his detention.

Judge Ali Adam said he believed the charges were for serious criminal offenses. The judge said there is no legal ground for a lower court to consider a previous lower court verdict in making decisions. The judge agreed that releasing Thasleem and Ali Manik back into society would endanger society. Therefore, he ordered both Thasleem and Ali Manik to be kept in detention until the end of the trial.

A terror attack was carried out against Speaker of the Parliament and former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, on May 6 by detonating an IED as he entered his vehicle near his residence in capital Male'. According to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), the IED was strapped to a motorcycle parked nearby. Nasheed sustained serious injuries in the attack, and multiple critical surgeries were performed on Nasheed at ADK Hospital in Male'. Nasheed traveled to Germany on May 13 for additional treatment and later recuperated from his injuries in the United Kingdom. He returned to the Maldives last month.

Nine suspects linked to the attack are in custody.