Opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has called on the prosecutor general to respect Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s decision to throw out terrorism charges against 89 opposition supporters.
The former president also said that the military’s detention of the judge during his tenure was “wrong”.
Judge Abdulla dismissed the Thinadhoo cases on Saturday after state prosecutors failed to attend a hearing scheduled for 10am. Last week he ordered 55 of the 89 defendants be held in detention pending the outcome of the trials, claiming the accused were intimidating witnesses. All have been released.
Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin has resubmitted the cases to the Criminal Court today.
Claiming Judge Abdulla properly evaluates matters, Nasheed said it “was unwise for politicians to be quick to act” against the judge’s decisions.
“Abdulla Mohamed has decided the case is invalid. When the prosecutor general submits the same cases to his desk again saying he has the power and authority of the state, that is an affront to the rule of law and courts,” Nasheed told reporters today.
State prosecutors had failed to show up at court with evidence, he continued.
Nasheed today blamed his former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim for the judge’s detention in January 2012, saying: “As you must know, some state officials, especially the minister of defense deemed Abdulla Mohamed’s verdict as a threat to national security. I believe it was wrong.”
Judge Abdulla’s controversial military detention led to nightly anti-government protests and a police and military mutiny that resulted in Nasheed’s ouster on 7 February 2012.
Government buildings including police stations and court houses were set ablaze in several islands including Addu and Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo after police brutalised Nasheed and his supporters in Malé on February 8.
All of the 89 terror suspects are from Thinadhoo. A further 80 people from Addu are also being charged with terrorism.
An investigation led by Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) found the former president as the “highest authority liable” for the military-led detention of the Judge.
The HRCM also identified Tholhath as a “second key figure” involved in the matter. Others included Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi and Chief of Defense Force Moosa Ali Jaleel.
Home Minister Mohamed Afeef at the time of the judge’s arrest accused him of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”, listing 14 cases of obstruction of police duty, including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations, and disregarding decisions by higher courts.
In July 2012, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz pressed charges against those identified in the HRCM investigation as responsible for the arrest. All cases have subsequently stalled in the courts.
Maldivian Democratic Party lawyers have also condemned Muhsin’s decision today, saying the PG cannot raise the same criminal charges after a case had been rejected.
“It is not common practice for the PG to submit cases where a decision has been reached with the same evidence. We urge the PG to not submit the case again and the Criminal Court to not accept the case,” said lawyer Hassan Latheef.
Related to this story