Abbas Adil Riza ‘vanishes’; trial remains stymied

Abbas Adil Riza. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Criminal Court hearing in the case against an activist from the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) who called for the torching of the Indian High Commission in Maldives was cancelled again on Tuesday, due to failure to serve him with the court summons.

The case against Abbas stems from a tweet he made in December 2022, which he alleged that the arson attacks in Addu City in during riots of February 8, 2012 following the fall of former president Mohamed Nasheed’s administration had been at orders from India.

He said the Indian High Commission should be torched in retaliation.

Abbas was charged with threatening destruction. The first hearing in the case was scheduled for March 5, but was cancelled due to failure to serve him with the court summons. A second hearing scheduled for April 5 was also cancelled.

The hearing was rescheduled to 10:00 am Tuesday.

A spokesperson from the Criminal Court said the hearing was cancelled because the police had been unable to find out his whereabouts.

The police are expected to make a public announcement seeking to find out his whereabouts.

Abbas faces one year, seven months and six days in prison if found guilty of the charge against him.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, Abbas had expressed displeasure over how the money laundering trial against former Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had been proceeding, and called for arson attacks and unrest across Male’ on the social audio app Clubhouse.

Abbas had served as the President’s Office spokesperson during former president Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s administration, and as head of Maldives Customs Service and the trade representative to Malaysia during Yameen’s administration.