Court orders confidentiality of evidence on ex-Police Commissioner case

Criminal Court sitting judge Ahmed Hailam on Thursday has ordered confidentiality on evidences against former police commissioner Ahmed Areef.

The former police commissioner is state prosecuted for terrorism conviction.

Ex police commissioner is tried for terrorism due to his alleged involvement in Maldives apex court's February 1 order citing release of nine political prisoners including former president Mohamed Nasheed and former vice-president Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Areef is also suspected of misusing police authority to create rebelling factions within the department in a move to pit officers against one anther. He is also alleged with undue influence on government authorities and legal departments to push a personal agenda against government.

Thursday's trial was a default where both plaintiff and defendant are required to present their documents or evidences backing respective claims at the court.

Public prosecutor Aishath Muna made three conditions to the court which included protection or provision of safety for witnesses. She argued that if witness identities were revealed the defendant may attempt to coerce the individuals to change their statements.

Defense lawyer Hisan Hussain counter argued the case does not necessitate the confidentiality of witnesses or evidences.

However the defense's argument was overruled by Criminal Court judge Hailam who presented reasoning that a statutes absence on a law does not mean it should not be accepted into consideration.

Furthermore defense had argued the case should not be accepted for trial since investigation was not completed. In addition to this defense lawyer Ibrahim Riffath had questioned regarding conviction on Areef over February 1 order which was in contradiction with judges act.

Criminal Court judge Hailam proceeded Thursday's trial by denying all the conditions presented by defense.

The former police commissioner stands to face a jail term between 17 to 20 years if he gets convicted for the alleged crime.