The Maldives Police Services has rejected a complaint filed by three journalists alleging the Criminal Court had abducted them inside the Justice Building on Friday night (March 13).
The journalists from CNM, state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) and Avas said court clerks refused repeated requests to let them out of the building to inform their readers of the outcome of a 9:15pm hearing in former President Mohamed Nasheed’s terrorism trial.
All trial observers and journalists were held for nearly two hours inside the building after the initial hearing, as judges deliberated on a verdict. They were not allowed to use their phones or communicate with the reporters gathered outside.
Journalists and observers had not previously been informed a verdict would be delivered on the same night.
When Mohamed Afsal, Misbah Abbas and Muizz Ibrahim reiterated requests to be allowed to leave the courthouse, court officials refused to allow them outside or inside the courtroom for the verdict later. The three were held in the waiting area until the verdict was delivered.
The journalists accused the Criminal Court of kidnapping and terrorism.
However, police dismissed the case stating they do not have the jurisdiction to investigate the case, and recommended the complaint be filed at the Judicial Services Commission instead.
The Criminal Court had previously barred opposition aligned Rajje TV journalists from attending court proceedings, claiming a journalist from the private broadcaster had threatened Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf, one of the three judges who presided over Nasheed’s trial.
The station has denied the court’s claims.