Still no lawyer access for ex-VP despite court order

Prison officials are still refusing to provide access to jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor despite a court order, his lawyer alleged Monday.

A judge on Wednesday had refused to continue the Adheeb's trial after the defence bemoaned the lack of access to their client.

The criminal court was set to hear abuse of power charges against the ex-VP over the lease of 10 different islands through the corruption laden Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC).

Adheeb's attorney had said he had not had access to his client for 25 days and alleged discrimination by prison officials.

Following the claims, the judge had ordered Maldives Correctional Service to grant two lawyer visitations for the defendant before the next hearing which has been scheduled 10 days later.

Adheeb's attorney Moosa Siraj said prison officials have refused access to Adheeb before the summon for the hearing is received.

The ex-VP is serving 33 years in prison over two counts of terrorism and corruption including the blast aboard the presidential speedboat which has been now confirmed as a plot to assassinate president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. He is also facing multiple counts of terrorism and graft charges including a second assassination plot involving a Sri Lankan sniper.

Adheeb’s family meanwhile has repeatedly urged the authorities to grant permission for Adheeb to travel abroad for medical treatment, claiming that he has been diagnosed with an internal cyst, kidney stones and a dangerous eye disease “glaucoma”.

Government has attracted intense opposition criticism over its decision to deny Adheeb medical leave insisting that there was a real threat that the ex VP would abscond.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom meanwhile in July had asked his former deputy to return the millions he stole from state coffers to get medical leave.

President Yameen had insisted that the government would not allow Adheeb to travel abroad until the stolen funds are recovered but added that the authorities would allow him to bring in doctors from abroad.

He also added that Adheeb would have access to every health care facility available at the state run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).