High Court orders a retrial on the seven charges pressed against Adeeb

High Court of the Maldives has ordered a retrial on the 7 charges pressed by the state against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, which were rejected by the Criminal Court in July.

In the last hearing of the appeal against the Criminal Court’s decision, the High Court ruled there was no grounds to reject the charges pressed against Adeeb. The court ordered a retrial of seven charges pressed against Adeeb by the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), starting from the preliminary hearings.

The PGO pressed 7 charges against Adeeb, including two charges for participating in embezzlement of state funds, two charges for money laundering, two charges for influence peddling and one charge for illicit use of an official position. At the preliminary hearing of the trial, Criminal Court Judge Ismail Rasheed rejected the charges citing the lack of sufficient credible evidence against Adeeb, as the charges are largely dependent on confession agreements signed between the defendant and the PG Office, which holds no validity in court.

However, Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said sufficient evidence has been collected for over 150 charges against Adeeb for his role in the embezzlement of state funds through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Noting none of the charges would require a confession statement from Adeeb for it to be proved in court, Shameem said the evidence collected against the former vice president is enough to hand him a prison sentence of 806 years. However, Shameem said the PGO will only press all charges if Adeeb refuses to go ahead as per the agreement made between him and the PG Office to cooperate with the investigation and plead guilty for 7 charges.

Meanwhile, Adeeb has recently said himself that the charges which were rejected by the Criminal Court need to be reviewed. He denied being coerced into signing the confession agreement by the PGO and Maldives Police Service (MPS).

Former Vice President Adeeb had previously been sentenced to 33 years in prison, after being convicted of terrorism and corruption charges. The sentences were later overturned by the Supreme Court of the Maldives, after ruling the investigation was carried out under political influence, violating the international conventions signed by the Maldives.

Adeeb has also served a sentence of 3 months and 18 days, which was imposed for his attempt to flee the country while his passport was seized under the orders of the Supreme Court. The sentence was completed on January 3, 2020.