Top court suspends ex-defence minister's prison sentence

Maldives top court on Sunday suspended Jailed former defense minister Mohamed Nazim's prison sentence and ordered the authorities to release him until a judgement on the review of his jailing.

Nazim was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was convicted of weapons possession after police found a hand gun in his residence. However, neither his DNA nor fingerprints was found on the weapon.

Nazim is currently in Malaysia after he had given 30 days medical leave following the opposition's resounding victory in September's presidential elections.

The court in an interim order on Sunday said Nazim's sentence had been suspended and ordered the authorities to release him until a judgement can be reached on the review.

Nazim becomes the latest jailed opposition figure to be released after the election victory on September 23.

Since the election victory most of the jailed opposition officials has either been released or granted bail.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) last year had ruled that Nazim's trial was deeply flawed and called on the government for his immediate release.

The High Court late September had freed jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom before overturning the bribery conviction of Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim on Monday.

Supreme Court meanwhile had also paved the way for self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed's return after the five judge bench effectively ordered the relevant authorities not to arrest him.

In a similar interim order, the top court said the serving of Nasheed's prison sentence has been temporarily suspended until it reviews his jailing as requested by the country's prosecutor's office.

Nasheed had returned to the Maldives on Thursday after spending three years in self-imposed exile.