A court in the Maldives has sentenced a former defense minister to 10 years in prison on charges of detaining a senior judge, the same case in which the former president has also been jailed in a trial widely criticized as politically motivated.
The sentencing of Tholath Ibrahim by the Criminal Court on Friday night came nearly a month after former President Mohamed Nasheed was sent to 13 years in prison for ordering the arrest and detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
Ibrahim was Nasheed’s defense minister at the time of the judge’s arrest, which hurt Nasheed’s popularity and led to his downfall.
The court said it has been proven that Ibrahim conspired with Nasheed to arrest the judge three years ago and helped detain him in an island used for military training.
Nasheed’s trial and imprisonment has drawn widespread international criticism and cast doubt over the Maldives’ transition to democracy, which began after Nasheed was elected in 2008, ending 30 years of autocratic rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Nasheed resigned in 2012 after weeks of public protests over the judge’s arrest and eventually lost support of the military and police. In elections the following year, he lost to Yameen Abdul Gayoom, a half brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Opposition supporters said his case is politically motivated aimed at eliminating him as a potential candidate in the 2018 presidential election.