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Maldives Supreme Court acquits former president Mohamed Nasheed

File photo of former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 26, 2018, 01.05 PM (IST)

In a big relief to the former President of Maldives, the top court acquitted former President Mohamed Nasheed on Monday as it quashed the controversial terror charge against him.

"President Nasheed's entire trial was a politically-motivated sham," his lawyer, Hisaan Hussein, said after his conviction was quashed.

"It is appalling that an innocent man was unjustly forced to spend a year in jail, 35 months in exile, and was prevented from standing for political office."

Nasheed, the leader of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, was expected to contest the September poll but was barred on account of his terrorism conviction.

His party's nominee, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, ran and unexpectedly defeated Yameen despite curbs on opposition campaigning.

The Amnesty International had described the arrest as "politically motivated", and the United States Department of State expressed concern at "apparent lack of appropriate criminal procedures during the trial".

The 51-year-old leader has branded a fugitive from justice when he went into exile in 2016 after seeking medical treatment abroad while serving the jail sentence. 

However, in November this year, Nasheed came back to the Maldives from exile after the top court ruled against the arrest and said that he will not be detained until his appeal against the jail sentence is heard.