Prosecutors defend solitary confinement for top court judge

Prosecution on Monday defended the decision to keep jailed top court judge Ali Hameed in solitary confinement saying that "it was for his own safety."

Top court judge Ali Hameed is facing four separate charges which includes terrorism after being accused in the plot to overthrow the government.

During the last pre-trial hearing on Monday over the terrorism charges, judge Hameed had complained saying that he has been kept in solitary confinement which was aggravating his psychological condition.

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Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before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 judge who remains in custody under the state of emergency have also been charged with abuse of power to influence lower court judges.

Just before he was convicted of undue influence last week, judge Hameed has collapsed in court and was rushed to the hospital.

He told the court on Monday that prison doctors had called in a specialist from the capital due to concerns over his psychological condition and had prescribed medication for three months.

The defence had argued that keeping an inmate suffering from a psychological condition in isolation could not be defended.

The prosecution countered by insisting that judge Hameed has been kept in isolation for his own safety as it was unwise to keep a judge with other inmates. The prosecution also said a nurse makes daily visits to check on the health of the jailed judge.