Sentencing delayed after top court judge rushed to hospital

Criminal Court on Wednesday was forced to delay sentencing the two top court judges charged with abuse of power after judge Ali Hameed collapsed in court and was rushed to hospital.

Chief justice Abdulla Saeed along with top court judge Ali Hameed are facing four separate charges which includes terrorism after being accused in the plot to overthrow the government.

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 Abdul 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.

Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.

In addition to the terrorism charge, the top court judges who remains in custody under the state of emergency have also been charged with abuse of power to influence lower court judges.

Shortly after the sentencing hearing began, judge Hameed had difficulty breathing and was rushed to hospital.

The prosecution had presented several court verdicts and two judges as witnesses against the accused.

The defence meanwhile had claimed conflict of interest after one piece of prosecution evidence was a verdict issued by the presiding judge.