Appeal hearing over dismissal of Ameen's charges fails to proceed due to absence of lawyer

Terror suspect Mohamed Ameen speaks at a hearing held on September 29, 2021, at the Supreme Court.

Today’s hearing in the appeal case lodged by the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding High Court’s dismissal of the terrorism charges raised against Mohamed Ameen, Kariyya Villa, Maadhandu, Fuvahmulah City, failed to proceed – as Ameen had been unable to appoint a lawyer. Ameen is suspected to the leader of the Maldivian faction of the terror organization, Islamic State, by the Police.

He had appeared before the court by himself for today’s hearing – without an attorney.

The appeal case is presided by a three-judge bench – Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan, Justice Aisha Shujoon Mohamed and Justice Husnu Al Suood. The bench is headed by the Chief Justice.

In his opening remarks, the Chief Justice noted that whilst the court had been informed that Ameen’s lawyer, Ahmed Yameen, is sick – the form submitted to appoint a second lawyer, had been incomplete.

Following this, Ameen had explained that he himself had some health issues – due to which he had consulted at a flu clinic last night. He noted that he was only able to return home at around 4:00 in the morning after the doctors’ consultation. Adding that the Police would be aware of the details regarding his visit to the flue clinic – Ameen said that he had also submitted a medical certificate to the court.

The Chief Justice then noted that the signature and the fingerprint was missing on the submitted to the court on behalf of Ameen to appoint a second lawyer, Ismail Wisham. Stressing that the nature of the case mandates that it must be concluded within seven days – the Chief Justice asked Ameen to re-submit the form after completing all the details on it. He also noted that another hearing will be scheduled for tomorrow.

High Court had dismissed the terrorism charges against Mohamed Ameen on September 16 – citing that the charges were filed after the expiration of the statute of limitation. 

PGO’s appeal states that High Court misinterpreted Article 26 (K) of the Ant-Terrorism Act in their decision as well as due to the failure to refer to the exceptions to the statute of limitations stipulated in the Act – for investigation and filing charges in terrorism-related cases.  

They also stressed in their appeal that the failure to refer to the exceptions to the statute of limitations stipulated in the Anti-Terrorism Act – leads for the stipulated exceptions to serve no purpose.

Even though High Court had dismissed the charges against Ameen, they issued a MoniCon order against Ameen just days after, barring him from traveling outside of Male’ City.

The order read that Ameen will not be allowed to travel outside of Male’ City without authorization from the Police. In addition to this – he will also not be able to leave his home from 18:00 in the evening to 06:00 in the morning.

Ameen is suspected of involvement in the Sultan’s Park bombing which injured a dozen tourists in 2007. He fled the country after the bombing, prompting an Interpol red notice against him.

He was located in neighboring Sri Lanka and brought to Maldives in 2012 but released by the court after two months of detainment.

He was rearrested in 2019 – under suspicion of spreading radical extremist ideologies and recruiting and dispatching people for jihad in other countries. Ameen was transferred to house arrest in February this year – due to complaints of not receiving adequate medical care the opportunity to exercise outside of his jail cell.

US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has Ameen flagged as a senior operative of IS, making him the first Maldivian national to be named on the OFAC’s terror list.

According to the US, Ameen was actively engaged in leading IS recruitment in Maldives. He is also accused of assisting the IS branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan by providing funding, assists and technological support.

He is the first person to be arrested and charged under the revised Anti-Terrorism Act.