Jumhooree Party MP Abdulla Riyaz has been found not guilty of obstructing police officers over his refusal to unlock his mobile phone.
A three-judge panel at the criminal court ruled Sunday morning that the prosecution was unable to prove criminal intent due to inconsistencies in the testimony of the police officers. The police also wrongfully seized the lawmaker’s phone without the evidence required by the criminal procedures law, the judges noted.
The charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer is a class one misdemeanour that carries a jail term of four months and 24 days.
Riyaz, a former police chief and the JP’s deputy leader, was put on trial in early April after a new alliance formed between opposition parties and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom sought to seize the parliament’s majority.
The opposition alliance appears to have wrested control of the 85-member house with ten defections from the ruling party. A second vote of no-confidence against the speaker is due to take place on July 24.
JP leader Gasim Ibrahim is also on trial on charges of attempting to bribe and unduly influence lawmakers.
Hours after the alliance sought unsuccessfully to impeach the speaker of parliament on March 27, the police had confiscated Riyaz’s phone and interrogated him on charges of spreading false rumours and attempting to influence the police force.
The judges ruled that the police contravened the parliamentary privileges law with the May 27 arrest.