“I was not afforded the rights of the accused,” says Judge Abdulla

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed testified in a terrorism trial against former President Mohamed Nasheed tonight, stating the former Commander in Chief must bear responsibility for his “unlawful arrest” in January 2012.

“I was not afforded the rights of the accused. My basic human rights were violated. I had no access to a lawyer,” Judge Abdulla told the court.

He claimed he is still unclear as to why he was kept detained from January 16 to February 7.

Nasheed is accused of abducting Judge Abdulla and is standing trial for terrorism. He has denied charges. If convicted, he faces a jail term or banishment between ten and 15 years.

The opposition leader once again reiterated a request for legal counsel and adequate time to mount a defence, pointing out that he had difficulty in appointing a lawyer while detained in Dhoonidhoo.

All four of Nasheed’s lawyers quit yesterday over the Criminal Court’s alleged failure to provide sufficient time to examine the prosecution’s evidence and prepare to defend the former president against new terror charges pressed two weeks ago on February 22.

Nasheed has previously called the Criminal Court’s rushed trial an “injustice” and “the biggest circus the Maldives has seen in constitutional history.”

But presiding Judge Abdulla Didi insisted there was no obstruction to Nasheed appointing a lawyer, and said the former president had been given ample opportunity to obtain legal counsel.

Judge Didi adjourned the hearing after scheduling the next hearing for Friday night (March 13), where the defence and prosecution are to present concluding statements.

Judges could issue a verdict at their discretion afterwards.

“This is what the President wants…”

Recounting his arrest, Judge Abdulla said he had gone home from work late on January 16, and was having dinner with his wife when masked men in military uniform entered his home without a court warrant and “dragged me off to Girifushi.”

In the process, his arm was hurt, he said. Since he had been arrested at 12am, he did not know where he was being taken, and only found out he was in Girifushi much later, Judge Abdulla said.

Senior government officials including former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, then-Minister of Youth Hassan Latheef and former Presidential Envoy Ibrahim Hussein Zaki visited Judge Abdulla in Girifushi, he said.

Judge Abdulla said the meetings with government officials made it clear to him they did not have authority to make a decision on his detention.

Their use of phrases such as “this is what the President wants,” made it clear the then-Commander In Chief was responsible for his detention on Girifushi, Judge Abdulla said.

Government officials offered him four options, to step down as the Criminal Court Chief Judge, to transfer to another job, to leave Malé or leave the country, he continued.

Judge Abdulla was summoned to court tonight by presiding Judges Abdulla Didi, Abdul Bari Yoosuf and Sujau Usman. He was not listed among the prosecution’s witnesses and neither the state prosecutors nor Nasheed posed any questioned to the judge tonight.

Mount a defence

Nasheed requested ten additional days to appoint new lawyers stating: “You have to give a detainee the opportunity. You know very well the laws and rules you have to follow.”

But Judge Didi said the Criminal Court would not give the former president special access or privileges and said he could appoint new lawyers whenever he wishes.

Nasheed’s legal team had been given access to Dhoonidhoo Island even today, Judge Didi noted.

However, the opposition leader argued the four lawyers had dropped the case due to the Criminal Court’s denial of due process and adequate time to prepare defence, and said he required time to appoint a new lawyer of his choosing.

“Lawyers don’t grow on trees,” he said.

The office of the former President Mohamed Nasheed issued a statement tonight, pointing out defendants in other high profile cases had been given over a month to find legal representation, and the court proceedings last more than a year.

The statement also expressed concern over the Criminal Court’s decision not to hear the witnesses Nashed had submitted in his defence.

The judges said they did not believe the witnesses would negate the testimony of witnesses produced by the state, and were therefore unnecessary.

Related to this story

“This is not a court of law. This is injustice,” Nasheed tells the Criminal Court

Nasheed’s lawyers quit

Nasheed’s lawyers stage no-show citing insufficient time for preparation

State prosecutors influencing witnesses, claim Nasheed’s lawyers

Chief of Defense Forces testifies in Nasheed, Tholhath terrorism trials

Nasheed contests credibility of police and military witnesses in terrorism trial

Judges Didi and Yoosuf refuse to step down from Nasheed’s terrorism trial

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Former President Nasheed arrives in court with arm in makeshift sling

Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers


5 thoughts on ““I was not afforded the rights of the accused,” says Judge Abdulla”

  1. You must've felt absolute terror when the crimes you committed came back to haunt you.

    Mark my words, Abdulla Mohammed; you can escape to Saudi Arabia - but the hatred of those lives you ruined with you disgusting actions will pursue you.

  2. When Nasheed denied access to the always to Judge was legal since it is done by Nasheed.

    When Nasheed request for the extension of time to his lawyers after 2 years of having the documents, when current judge says that 3 days in between the hearing is good enough, it become illegal and denial of access to the lawyers.

    What a double standard ?

    I guess in this country, we all need to "obey" Nasheed and his words must be made as part of the constitution .

  3. Never before had a trial gone at such speed in this country! Very serious criminals have escaped conviction due to the length of time cases have been stuck. You don't need to be a genius to work out what's going on.

    Nasheed is being tried on a completely new charge and he was never even given a chance of legal representation at the start of these trials on charges of "terrorism".

    To say that these trials are according to the principles of Islamic Sharia as is claimed by the regime is a gross distortion of the Islamic faith.

  4. Hero,

    Contrary to what you say, Abdulla Mohamed was in fact given access to legal counsel (State Appointed). He was not given access to a counsel of his own choice.

    Again, how can his lawyers prepare for a case where the charge was made in the last 2 weeks? They had investigation documents related to a charge under PC 81. This is a charge of terrorism which even you will have to agree is a completely different defense.

    I believe Nasheed did initiate and bless the detention of Abdulla Mohamed, even though he may not have given direct orders. In addition, as the detention was carried out by the armed forces, as Commander in Chief, he has to be answerable to this.

    It strengthens the argument that Nahseed's charges are politically motivated, when similar cases of unlawful detention has been filed with PG, with more people detained for longer periods which occurred during MAG's rule and no action has been taken.

    In 1999, 14 people from F.Magoodhoo were arrested and detained for 110 days. The due process as per the Constitution of that time was not followed. These people have filed complaints with the PG on 6th Aug 2012.

    As the Magoodhoo incident happened earlier, and charges were made to those responsible, there wont be any ground to accuse that Nasheed's charges are politically motivated.


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