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Maldives court convicts ex-VP over plot to kill president

A court in the Maldives has convicted a former vice president for masterminding a plot to kill the president. It found him responsible for setting off a bomb on the president's speedboat and gave him 15 years in prison.

Ahmed Adeeb (R)

Ahmed Adeeb (R)

Ahmed Adeeb must now serve 25 years after the same criminal court sentenced him earlier this week to 10 years for possessing firearms. He also faces two more charges of abuse of authority and corruption.

Two of his military bodyguards were given 10 years each for being part of the plot against the president.

A muted opposition

Almost all of President Abdulla Yameen's key rivals are now living in exile or in jail, with the Maldives rocked by political turmoil in recent years.

Maldives' President Yaamin Abdul Gayoom addresses the nation after being sworn in during his inauguration in Male, Maldives. On Sept. 28, 2015

Maldives' President Yaamin Abdul Gayoom addresses the nation after being sworn in during his inauguration in Male, Maldives. On Sept. 28, 2015

The trial also comes weeks after former-leader Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, was granted

asylum in Britain.

Since Gayoom was elected president in 2013, he has sentenced four

high-profile politicians

, including Adeeb, to be jailed on terrorism charges.

He appointed the 34-year-old Adeeb as vice president last July after sacking his running mate in the 2013 election. Former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and Sheik Imran Abdulla, the leader of a prominent opposition party, were the other leaders who were given lengthy prison terms since Gayoom assumed office.

Lack of transparency?

Adeeb's lawyer, Moosa Siraj, said the court had barred the defense team from speaking on the fairness of the trial and had been allowed little time to prepare its case.

"The Criminal Court has barred me from calling the trial unfair, but we have concerns and intend to launch an appeal immediately," Siraj said, adding he would appeal the verdict against Adeeb.

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Human rights groups have accused Gayoom of jailing political opponents and potential challengers in order to tighten his grip on power.

Investigators from the FBI, which was enlisted to investigate the incident, concluded they saw no evidence of a bomb blast.

jbh/sms (AP, dpa, AFP)

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