[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official website] on Wednesday condemned [press release] the a trial [JURIST report] of former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed [Huffington Post profile]. The commissioner found several flaws in the trial process including: the trial beginning one day after Nasheed’s arrest and sentencing completed after only 19 days. The Maldivian Constitution states that anyone accused of a crime has the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare their defense. Zeid said, “in a polarized context, and given the long-standing serious concerns about the independence and politicization of the judiciary in the Maldives, this case should have been handled with much greater care and transparency.” He stated that the process has put the Maldives judicial process in the spotlight and that the flaws in the process can be rectified during the appeals process.
The Maldives judiciary has generated significant controversy over the last two years. Nasheed was sentenced earlier this month to 13 years in prison for terrorism-related charges. In October the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern [JURIST report] over the Supreme Court’s prosecution of five members of the Maldives’ Human Rights Commission [official website]. Last March the Supreme Court dismissed [JURIST report] the country’s four top election commissioners, giving each a six-month jail sentence and three-year suspension for “disobeying orders.” In November 2013 the Supreme Court suspended [JURIST report] the nation’s presidential election for the third time.