Gayoom's lawyers quit over 'rushed' trial

Jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's entire legal team withdrew from his obstruction of justice trial, accusing the court of completely ignoring the rights of the defendant to rush through the trial.

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.

The 80 year old who had been arrested under the state of emergency has been charged with obstruction of justice over his refusal to handover his mobile phone to the police.

The former president also charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government has continued to warn authorities of health risk while his family had claimed that Gayoom's health continues to worsen.

His lawyers had urged the court to cancel a scheduled hearing on Tuesday evening due to Gayoom's ill-health. But after the court rejected the request, Gayoom's three member legal team - led by his nephew Maumoon Hameed had quit from the case saying that they have not been able to protect the rights of their client as the court wishes to rush through the trial.

In addition to Gayoom chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed have also been formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

The two top court judges along with now jailed chief judicial administrator Hassan Saeed are also facing bribery charges. Chief justice Saeed is facing a fourth charge of impeding the functioning of the state for allegedly blocking the receipt of three letters sent by president Yameen shortly after the top court ruling on February 1.

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. All four lawmakers have also been remanded until the trial ends.

In addition, former police chief Ahmed Areef has also been charged and remanded until sentencing.

PG office said Areef had handpicked certain police officers in violation of normal procedure to enforce the Supreme Court order and also attempted to disrupt the peace of the country.