United Nations: The trial of former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed made a "mockery" of the country's Constitution, a UN human rights expert said today, emphasising that the series of due process violations since his arrest is "simply unacceptable in any democratic society."
"I am extremely concerned about the lack of respect for the most basic principles of fair trial and due process during Nasheed's criminal proceedings," Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said in a statement, days after has was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
She said the series of due process violations since Nasheed's arrest on February 22 is "simply unacceptable in any democratic society."
"Nasheed's trial was not only a clear violation of the Maldives' international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but it also made a mockery of the State's own Constitution," Knaul said.
According to the UN human rights office, Nasheed's trial began one day after his arrest, which was made on the charge that he authorised the unlawful detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012 when he was President.
Having previously faced charges for the same complaint, which were withdrawn by the Prosecutor-General, Nasheed was arrested again under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
"The speed of the proceedings combined with the lack of fairness in the procedures lead me to believe the outcome of the trial may have been pre-determined," she said.
Knaul noted that Nasheed's defence team was allegedly prevented from attending his first hearing and was not granted adequate time to prepare for his defence. In addition, when the defence team later resigned, the trial proceeded without allowing him to seek new legal representation.
The former President has since been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
Knaul asked authorities in the Maldives to "seriously consider" the recommendations made in a 2013 report she submitted following her visit to the country and called for guarantees that Nasheed's appeal process respect the most stringent fair trial and due process guarantees.
Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and carry out their work in an independent and unpaid capacity.