Jihad’s passport confiscation was unlawful: Supreme Court

Former Minister of Finance and later Vice President of the Maldives, Abdulla Jihad | Photo: Presidents Office

Malé, Maldives – The Supreme Court of Maldives has ruled that the travel ban placed on former Vice President of Maldives Abdullah Jihad via the confiscation of his passport, was unlawful.

Jihad, who faces charges in the Criminal Court for acting otherwise in a situation which could have benefited the state, requested the court for an opportunity to travel abroad for medical purposes, which was denied citing that he might flee the country. However, Jihad appealed the case at the High Court, which overturned the Criminal Court’s rulings. The state then appealed the case in the Supreme Court, which sustained the decision of the High Court.

The Supreme Court stated that although Jihad has the means to stay abroad and not return to the country, there is no evidence that supports the fact that he might do so, except for an air travel ticket submitted to the court by Jihad himself. It was also highlighted that prior to Jihad’s request to travel abroad, the state had not requested to have his passport confiscated, meaning that should he have wanted, he could have traveled abroad even without requesting the court.

While the Supreme Court issued a temporary travel ban on Jihad for the duration of the trial regarding the confiscation of his passport, the thee Judges presiding over the matter, Judge Aisha Shujune, Judge Ali Rasheed and Judge Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim unanimously ruled that Jihad’s passport shall no longer be held.