Malé, Maldives – Criminal Court of Maldives on Sunday freed a woman arrested under suspicion of drug trafficking after police broke the chain of custody.
The woman from Addu City, Hulhudhoo, was arrested upon arrival from Sri Lanka to the Maldives on 3 May 2016 after customs found 621 grams of suspected drugs hidden inside the lining of a luggage bag she was carrying.
Prosecution charged the suspect for trafficking Diaformin into the Maldives, with a potential sentence of 25 year imprisonment or a fine between MVR 100,000 to MVR 10 million.
Criminal Court Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad released the suspect stating that the chain of custody was broken. The Criminal Court judgement further stated that it was not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the smuggled material was drugs. The court added that Police have not provided when and from whom the suspected drugs were seized.
The sample number on the material collected from the luggage does not match with the serial number of the forensic result report.Criminal Court
At the time of arrest, the suspect stated the suspect was bringing in the luggage as a favour to a sibling of a romantic partner and another person also travelled with the suspect. Regarding this, the Criminal Court stated that this person was not investigated in any capacity despite witness statements of the entry of such a person by three customs officers.
Judge Rashad also expressed concern that the female suspect was not accompanied by any female officers when she was transferred to a guesthouse as part of the control delivery operation.
Keeping the female suspect imprisoned in a room for a long duration with only male officers, without any female officers present, obstructs the dignity of the suspect.Criminal Court
The prosecution has not revealed whether the case will be appealed at the High Court.