Mohamed Ameen, who is suspected of being the Maldives-based leader of the Islamic State (IS), has been sentenced to 27 years in prison on terrorism-related charges.

Ameen’s trial began in the Criminal Court on 9 October and was held in secret. He was charged for his active affiliation with a terrorist organisation, for which he received a 10-year sentence, and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, for which he received 17 years.

However, as he has already spent three years, 11 months and nine days in custody while awaiting the conclusion of his trial, time already served will be deducted from his sentence. Thus, his remaining jail time will come to no more than 23 years and 11 months.

Ameen is the first to be arrested and prosecuted under the amended Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990 and is also the first Maldivian to be included in the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) terrorist list.

Ameen was initially accused of the 2007 Sultan Park bombing, when he fled to neighbouring Sri Lanka, during a manhunt. He was eventually arrested, via an Interpol Red Notice, but was later, in 2012, released after being held in custody for two months.

He was arrested again, and accused of recruiting Maldivians to IS and sending them to Afghanistan. During his trial, the state alleged Ameen to be the leader of IS in the Maldives.

The High Court, on 16 September 2020, ordered his release after one and a half years spent in custody during his Criminal Court hearings with the charges against him also dismissed on the grounds that the state had not filed charges against him within the proper time frame. On 3 October 2021, the Supreme Court, hearing the state’s appeal, ruled that the charges brought against Ameen had been wrongly dismissed by the lower courts and that he should not have been acquitted.