Arrested cops transferred to house arrest

Criminal Court on Tuesday transferred the eight former police officers detained after being accused of the plot to overthrow the government to house arrest.

The court had twice extended the remand of the former police officers who were sacked days after their arrest. The court however, had ordered the authorities to transfer the eight to house arrest for 30 days after they were produced in court for a third remand extension.

In addition to the coup plot, the officers are also accused of attempting to implement the Supreme Court order of February 1.

The representing lawyers of all arrested officers claim they were apprehended for obeying orders of superiors and added if officers are arrested for following orders of superiors then several officers on both police and military payroll are under duress of getting charged with criminal offenses for following orders.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdulla Gayoom on February 5 had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

As the state of emergency approached it final hours, prosecutors got the country's criminal court to remand the suspects until the end of their respective trials which otherwise would have forced authorities to release them after the emergency state ended.

The most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now on trial charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Prosecutors have also formally charged four opposition lawmakers over the alleged coup plot.

Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, Jumhoory Party (JP) deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz, Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed and South-Machchangoalhi lawmaker Abdulla Sinan have all been charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government.

The Supreme court, now reduced to three bench judges soon after the arrests, later reversed its decision to quash the convictions of the opposition leaders.

In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.

Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.