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Maldives jails ex-vice president on terrorism charge for 15 years

Maldives jails ex-vice president on terrorism charge for 15 years

Maldives: The former vice-president of the Maldives has been convicted over a plot to assassinate the current president.

President Abdulla Yameen narrowly escaped injury when a blast struck the boat he was using to return home from the airport last September.

His then-deputy Ahmed Adeeb was arrested weeks later and charged with high treason.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday, days after receiving a 10-year sentence for owning firearms.

Adeeb denied playing any part in the blast, which the prosecution maintained was caused by a bomb.

Ahmed Adeeb must serve a total of 25 years after the same criminal court sentenced him earlier this week to 10 years for possessing firearms. Two of his military body guards were given 10 years each for being part of the plot.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, one of a number of agencies asked by the government to help with the investigation, said no bomb exploded.

Adeeb is the fourth high profile politician to be jailed on terrorism charges since Yameen Abdul Gayoom was elected president in 2013. The South Asian country is best known for its luxury island resorts. Adeeb’s lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.

Gayoom escaped unhurt in the September blast while he was traveling by boat from the airport to the capital of this archipelago state. But his wife, an aide and bodyguard were wounded.

Yameen appointed Adeeb, his once trusted protege, as vice president, last July after sacking his running mate in the 2013 election. However, Adeeb became a suspect immediately after the blast and days later he was arrested and charged with plotting to kill the president. On Tuesday he was convicted in a separate case of possessing firearms, prohibited under Maldivian law.

Maldives has a long history of being ruled by autocratic leaders. Gayoom’s half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ruled the country from 1978 to 2008 until he lost to Nasheed in the country’s first multiparty election. Nasheed resigned in 2012 after weeks of public protests over his role in jailing a sitting judge.

In 2015 he was convicted of ordering the military to kidnap the judge and sentenced to 13 years in prison.