Former Maldives minister accused of plotting coup

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Police in Maldives has accused the country’s former defence minister Mohamed Nazim of plotting to overthrow the government and harm senior government officials, media reported on Wednesday.

Police claimed to have found documents in a pen drive confiscated from Nazim’s house during a midnight raid Jan 18, which suggested he “was plotting to physically harm senior Maldivian state officials”, according to the MiniVan News online.

“In addition, police intelligence has received information that he was plotting with various parties to overthrow the government,” the statement read.

During the search, the police claimed to have found a pistol, bullets and an improvised explosive device.

Nazim was arrested Tuesday on charges of treason and possession of illegal weapons. The criminal court has extended his detention by 15 days.

Nazim himself tweeted news of his arrest to his followers, also announcing that he had left the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.

Though the party initially supported the minister after the Jan 18 raid at his house, Nazim was dismissed from his position two days later and replaced by Moosa Ali Jaleel Jan 20.

Nazim’s legal team said the former minister was being framed and implied that the firearms found during the raid were planted, according to Villa TV.

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed explained that after police forced open Nazim’s door at 3.30 a.m. Jan 18, they immediately entered Nazim’s bedroom, taking him, his wife and two of their children to the living room.

“After the whole family was taken to the sitting room, the police officers who had initially entered the apartment remained in the master bedroom for approximately 10 minutes,” he said.

Nazim’s remand sentence will be appealed in the High Court Thursday. If convicted, Nazim faces a jail term between seven and 10 years.