Man jailed pending outcome of trial released due to negligence in providing healthcare

Criminal Court of the Maldives.

Criminal Court has ordered the temporary release of the man jailed pending outcome of trial subsequent to negligence by Maldives Correctional Service in providing healthcare.

The man who Criminal Court ordered the release of on Tuesday is Ahmed Naeem, H. Ladhumaage, Male’ City – who was arrested under suspicions of drug trafficking. Naeem, who has a criminal history, was also charged with the attempted destruction of private property in connection to the vandalism of VTV in 2019. However, the charge was not proven against him.

Naeem was jailed pending outcome of trial in a drug-related case on January 21, 2021.

In a complaint submitted regarding his health condition, it was stated that he has kidney stones and that his kidney is swollen – causing difficulties in urinating.

After multiple complaints were filed regarding the matter, Criminal Court had ordered the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) to probe whether Naeem was being provided adequate healthcare.

HRCM found Corrections was negligent in providing adequate healthcare to Naeem.

Criminal Court ordered his temporary release based on HRCM's findings yesterday.

The order read that healthcare was a basic human right, and that it is the responsibility of a detention center to ascertain the right. Noting that it is the responsibility of the Director of Prisoners to ensure access to healthcare for detainees within the prisons and if from outside of prisons, through government hospitals and health centers – the Court said that they should clarify to the Court whether the responsibility was being fulfilled.

In highlighting negligence pertaining to Naeem’s medical care – the defense said that he was taken to consultations with a doctor either one day prior to a day where there is hearing or when the date of scheduled hearings nears. The defense alleged it was done because they filed complaints of negligence in providing medical care with the Court.

Therefore, the Court said that they were suspending their previous order to jail Naeem pending outcome of trial until December 15.

However, the court said the decision for his release wasn't ordered for the purpose of holding a certain institution or a person in a certain position responsible. The order was issued by Judge Mohamed Misbah.