The first complaints filed against Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in July 2005 included allegations of misogyny, sexual deviancy, and throwing out an assault case despite the confession of the accused, Minivan News has learned.
While presiding over a sexual offence case against Azeem Abdullah of Chaandhaneege, G.A.Kanduhulhudhoo, on May 19, 2005, Saeed told Gayoom that Abdulla Mohamed “made the two children who were summoned as witnesses against the accused stand in front [of the court] and asked them to look at the people present.
“He then made the children identify the individuals they were looking at. Although the children said in court that the accused performed the indecent act he was accused of, the Judge made the children act out the indecent act in the presence of the perpetrator and the rest of the court.”
Saeed’s second allegation concerned the hearing of physical assault case on June 6, 2005, against Ibrahim Ali of H. Saaroakaage.
“The case was submitted based on the admission of the accused that he had committed the assault, but Judge Abdulla Mohamed of the Criminal Court dismissed the case, stating that there was no case against the accused,” Saeed wrote.
In Saeed’s third allegation, concerning a criminal case on June 6, 2005, against Ahmed Naeem of Male’ Municipality Special Register, “after completing the sentencing of the defendant, Abdulla Mohamed said, ‘…very few men ever meet women who love them. You may meet a woman who loves and cares for you. You should not run after a woman who does not love you. It is also stated in Holy Quran that women are very deceptive.’”
The Judicial Services Commission (JSC), the judicial watchdog, eventually formed a complaints committee to investigate the cases against Judge Abdulla in December 2009, which met 44 times but had failed to present a single report as of March 2011.
Speaking at an opposition rally on January 24 against the detention of Abdulla Mohamed, Saeed acknowledged that he was “not satisfied with Judge Abdulla’s actions either.”
“[But] he did not have to do things to my satisfaction. I submitted the legal points I noticed [related to the judge’s conduct] to the head of the judiciary at the time, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. I could have removed Judge Abdulla from the post through pressure. But I did not do it because it was not my responsibility,” Dr Saeed said.
“The constitution today forbids influencing judges. So, looking at the current scenario, the country has gone ten years backward.”
The current judicial crisis was sparked after Abdulla Mohamed filed a case in the Civil Court which granted him an injunction halting his further investigation by the JSC. This was following by a High Court ruling against a police summons on January 16, which prompted police to request the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) take the judge into custody.
Home Minister Hassan Afeef subsequently accused the judge 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.
Afeef accused the judge of “deliberately” holding up cases involving opposition figures, barring media from corruption trials, ordering the release of suspects detained for serious crimes “without a single hearing”, and maintaining “suspicious ties” with family members of convicts sentenced for dangerous crimes.
The judge also released a murder suspect “in the name of holding ministers accountable”, who went on to kill another victim.
Vice President of the Maldives Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan opposed the judge’s detention, stating on his blog that “I am ashamed and totally devastated by the fact that this is happening in a government in which I am the elected Vice President.”
The government then requested assistance from the international community to reform the judiciary. Observing that judicial reform “really should come from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)”, Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem said the commission’s shortcoming are “now an issue of national security.”
“We have been working to improve the judiciary since we came to power, but we have not succeeded,” said Naseem. “We have asked the international community to assist us in this effort several times, and we find that they are willing to help at this point,” he explained.
A group of lawyers have meanwhile sent a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC), appealing that the judge’s detention is an “enforced disappearance” under the ICC’s Rome Statute.