Criminal Court orders release of Dr Jameel, rules arrest unlawful

The Criminal Court ordered the immediate release of minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Deputy Leader Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed from police detention for a second time tonight, ruling that his arrest on charges of slandering the government was unlawful.

The former cabinet minister under both current and previous governments was first summoned for questioning Thursday night after the President’s Office requested an investigation into “slanderous” allegations that the government was working under the influence of “Jews and Christian priests” to weaken Islam in the Maldives.

Jameel was taken into custody on Sunday night after being repeatedly summoned for interrogation along with DQP council member ‘Sandhaanu’ Ahmed Didi.

Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed, ordered his immediate release after midnight and ruled that the arrest was unlawful. Police however summoned Jameel again last night and took him to Dhoonidhoo detention.

Dr JameelSpeaking to press outside the Justice Building following his release around 9.30pm tonight, Dr Jameel criticised police for arresting him for a second time for the same offence despite the court ruling that the arrest was unlawful.

Jameel said the court has vindicated DQP’s stance that the government could not silence the opposition “every time we stand up and speak in defense of the country’s sovereignty, independence, businesses and mostly importantly the country’s religion.”

The former Justice Minister explained that the court ruled that section 125 of the 1968 penal code was invalid in reference to articles 27 and 66 of the constitution.

Section 125 of the penal code states, “Where a person makes a fabricated statement or repeats a statement whose basis cannot be proven, he shall be punished with house detention for a period between one to six months or fined between Rf25 and Rf200.”

In an earlier statement, DQP noted that the provision was “one of the most frequently invoked clauses by the 30-year rule of President Gayoom to suppress press freedom and dissenting views,” arguing that the liberal constitution adopted in 2008 and decriminalisation of defamation in 2009 rendered the offence of slander or lying “invalid.”

While article 27 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression “in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam,” article 66 states, “All existing statutes, regulations, decrees and notices inconsistent with the fundamental rights and freedoms provisions in this Chapter shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, become void on the commencement of this constitution.”

Jameel meanwhile strongly criticised police officers involved in his arrest for allegedly questioning him after he exercised the right to remain silent.

“In my view, what these few police officers have done is rob the Maldivian people of constitutional protections,” he said.

Meanwhile, roving protests by opposition supporters – sparked by the arrest of Jameel and the unprecedented move by the Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) to take Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed into custody last night – continue in Male’.

As of press time, protesters were headed towards the residence of Home Minister Hassan Afeef.


23 thoughts on “Criminal Court orders release of Dr Jameel, rules arrest unlawful”

  1. I hear the wind of change. A change to a dictatorship. Maldives is no longer the safe destination that we assumed it to be. Where there is no freedom of expression there cannot be a democracy. History has proven this time and time again. Sad for the Maldivians that they elected a little Mugabe.

  2. Article 27 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression “in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam,”

    What I find most astonishing is that Jameel has acted "contrary" to a fundamental tenet of Islam, i.e. lying! Article 27 is quite clear that one cannot lie in exercising one's right to "freedom of expression".

    Moreover, his decision to "remain silent" speaks louder than any words he subsequently utters. Why is he so silent about his allegations? He needs to show that he is acting under the provisions of Article 27; therefore he has to prove that he is not lying!

    Of course, the Criminal Court judges fail to see that particular tenet of Islam as being important. Judge that for yourselves.

  3. This guy is a very small fry. Leave him and will not open his gap any more. He knows where he ends up if Gazee Abdulla is locked up

  4. Law of the jungle prevails in the Maldives. A military dictatorship - the worst Maldivian history has ever recorded.

  5. I wish the police garrot this sob while at dhoonodhoo. They can always claim they did not do it, and just like the drug lords, they can get away.

  6. Unlawful detention of the former justice minister and a present opposition leader by police and the abduction of the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court by the Defence Force late at night, army's refusal to release the judge despite a High Court and Supreme Court order ... are we living in Mugabe's Zimbabwe???

  7. The government must not release Dr. Jameel or the corrupt chief judge of the criminal court Abdulla by court orders issued on Gayyoom's instructions. Judiciary is suppose to be independent. Its not for Shah, Hussain & Co. to dominate.

    Get Abdulla judge to face trial in the international criminal court. He will surely see how trials are run without having the convict to demonstrate in the court unlike how he runs trials in Maldivian courts.

  8. Ali Imthiyaz on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 5:23 AM

    How low can you guys get! Wishing an opposition leader be killed by the authorities!

    I wouldn't be surprised if one day something like this happens.

    Just don't call MDP a democratic party. Go ahead and rule as a Military Dictatorship plain and simple.

  9. Anni showing his true colors now. He was never a supporter of democracy.He bust be in the top 4 of the most cruel dictators now. I am divorcing him tomorrow.

  10. Of course Shaheen Hameed and Maumoon Hameed will do whatever they can to protect Abdulla Ghazee. He is the reason why their father Abdulla Hameed is living happily in Nawala, SriLanka while his court case is pending with Abdulla Ghazee's help.

    Prosecutor General Muiz is second cousins to Abdulla Hameed and people say blood is thicker than water.

  11. I call upon the Maldivian government to request the Srilankan authorities to arrest Abdulla Hameed (of Meenaz living in Nawala, Srilanka) and present him to the criminal courts of Maldives.

  12. "DQP noted that ... the offence of slander or lying “invalid.”

    Right. DQP, the mighty defenders of Islam, who KNOW that the Maldivian government is backed by Christian Priests and Jews, now proclaim that lying is invalid!

    Wow, how much more stupid can these guys get?

  13. @AS on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 3:46 AM

    "A military dictatorship – the worst Maldivian history has ever recorded."

    Really? You have absolutely no idea what a military dictatorship means.

    Military rule might even bring some semblence of normality to this country right now.

    Dissolve Parliament, thereby getting rid of a horde of leeches running the country dry. We'll save hundreds of millions of dollars by this act alone.

    Put the oh-so-liberal half baked Consitution into the dustbin where it belongs. The country shall be ruled by Martial Law.

    Disband all political parties, once again, creating some peace and quiet on the ground as well as saving the State a wad of cash.

    Bring in compulsory National Service for all those aged 18 and above! That will instill some discipline and respect for others in this society gone bonkers.

    When this happens, you'll know what Military rule feels like. Hope you like it.

  14. The Criminal Court is right. It is not the job of Army of a country to arrest people. The Army (MNDF) is to defend the country,not to arrest its own people. The arrest if needed should have come through courts and the Police. The Anni had surely started running this country by force, fear and dictatorship rule.

  15. Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb,

    what you fail to realize is that the current constitution is very loose with it's words and at best vague. For example, the basic "free expression" would be criticizing someone in his absence. In a fundamentally religious view, this is a taboo equivalent to eating the person's decomposing flesh.

    What I am trying to say is that, if we seriously grasp the particular "Islam above all" clause, we will be voiding most other "freedoms" that we so desire now.

    All in all, i think that for all extents and purposes, the islam part is safely ignored- it's just there to give an illusion of islamic law to the general populace.

    So, unbaised, I say f*ck it, to both sides.

  16. MNDF cannot release him even if Supreme Court orders it. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and only he has the authority to do so.

  17. @cynic on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 5:00 PM

    "what you fail to realize is that the current constitution is very loose with it’s words and at best vague."

    No, I do realise that the Constitution is woolly and half baked. It's a rushed job with so many loop holes. Even though experts were employed in drafting it, the final text went through numerous amendments, thanks to our Holy Parliamentarians (whose average IQ < 70). The end result is not pretty.

    There are various "... as long as it does not violate tenets of Islam", stuck to the Constitution. This applies to freedom of expression too. I've so far seen no evidence from any Court in the land, that they even bother to read that subtext. All the rulings so far suggest, the Judges are ignoring the phrase "... as long as it does not violate tenets of Islam".

    So, in one sense you're right. The parts referring to Islam are ignored. I suspect that these parts were grafted on during the above mentioned process.

  18. Damn! We are loosing too much. I think i wanna give up.

    Our coalition is full of feminists.

  19. We can rationalize, romanticize and philosophize all we want.

    However Nasheed is backed into a corner and he has two choices;

    1. Back down, release the judge and opposition figures and play the game by the rules.

    2. Please party activists by imposing martial law and face the ensuing backlash.

  20. @Nsasreena on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 9:43 PM

    "We are loosing too much."

    Where are you lOOse? Care to explain?

  21. It is amusing to watch this 'Cat and Mouse' game of arresting Jameel every night and releasing him the next day (on court orders)!

    This is exactly what Jameel and Co. wants! It only serves to advance the opposition's agenda. Here Jameel (an individual and an opposition politician) is being harassed by the police on a daily basis. Its a dream of any opposition political party to be seen as a victim of brute force!

    For how long can the government keep this up? Who will win this game eventually?

    Every passing day makes the government look ugly in front of the public and international community.

    Looks like a dream come true for DQP.


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