'I was scared to use a phone', chief justice claims death threats over Feb 1 order

Jailed chief justice Abdulla Saeed on Wednesday said he had received death threats following the Supreme Court order on February 1 which forced him to stop using a mobile phone.

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.

Chief justice Saeed along with fellow top court judge Ali Hameed and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who had been arrested under the state of emergency have been charged with obstruction of justice over their refusal to handover their mobile phone to the police.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the chief justice had explained why a mobile phone was not found on him when he was taken into custody. He said that numerous threatening messages following the court order on February 1 took a toll on him psychology and he had stopped carrying a mobile phone.

"I received messages to my phone saying they would kill me. They will chop me into pieces. I was scared. It really affected my psychology. That's why I stopped carrying a mobile phone," he explained.

The trio's respective legal team meanwhile have quit from the trial accusing the court of completely ignoring the rights of the defendant to rush through the trial.

The two top court judges facing four separate charges which includes terrorism after being accused in the plot to overthrow the government were convicted of abuse of power to influence lower court judges and sentenced to one year, six months and one day in prison.

The prison sentence came on top of the four months and 24 days given to chief justice Saeed who was also convicted of impeding the functioning of the state after he was found guilty of blocking the receipt of the letters sent by the president following the landmark Supreme Court order.