Court rejects top opposition MP's pre-trial motions

Criminal Court on Wednesday rejected as many as a dozen pre-trial motions made by former government lawmaker charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

South-Machchangoalhi lawmaker Abdulla Sinan is one of the lawmakers charged with terrorism over the February 1 Supreme Court order to release jailed opposition leaders.

During the final pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, the defence in a dozen pre-trial motions largely said the criminal court had no jurisdiction to question an order of the highest court.

In response, the prosecution argued that two top court judges have also been charged in relation to the order adding that the case was against the people behind issuing the order.

The defence also urged the court for some leeway for the defendant who has been remanded until the end of the trial since his arrest over 120 days ago. The court however rejected the request.

Sinan is one of the four lawmakers including Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, Jumhoory Party (JP) deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz and Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed to be charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government. The other three lawmakers have all been remanded until the trial ends.

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 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 most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.