Democracy Network alerts Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges on Nasheed’s sham trial

Human Rights group Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) has urged the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to investigate the jailing of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges.

The “independence of the judiciary has been lost,” MDN said in a letter to Gabriela Knaul, stating President Abdulla Yameen was using the judiciary as a tool to “oppress the opposition.”

“We fear that without timely intervention, the country will complete its slide back to autocracy. We strongly urge you to investigate the matter further and issue a public statement denouncing this flagrant abuse of rights being perpetuated through the Maldives’ judiciary,” the letter read.

MDN called upon the international community to take serious measures to prevent further human rights violations at the “helm of a corrupt judiciary.”

The former president was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison last night (March 13) over the January 2012 military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Nasheed’s administration detained Judge Abdulla after deeming him a national security threat. Then- Home Minister Hassan Afeef accused the judge of political bias, obstructing police, stalling cases, links with organised crime and “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist” to protect key figures of the former dictatorship from human rights and corruption cases.

Delivering the guilty verdict last night, Judge Abdulla Didi said the prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed ordered the chief judge’s arrest or “forceful abduction.”

The NGO described the trial as a “political tool designed to disqualify him from contesting future elections and silence his voice of political opposition,” noting that the trial took place at an “uncharacteristically extreme speed.”

“The systematic procedural irregularities in the current proceedings demonstrate that the current charges against Nasheed are a continuation of the same campaign to disqualify him from political office and effectively silence his political dissent in the Maldives, using a corrupt and biased judicial system to realise this goal,” said MDN.

All four of Nasheed’s lawyers quit on March 9 in protest of the Criminal Court’s refusal to grant sufficient time to examine the prosecution’s evidence and mount a defence.

The presiding judges had denied the lawyers’ request for adequate time, stating the legal team has had the case documents for three years.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) said today Nasheed “was denied fundamental rights which guarantee a fair trial by the constitution, and some rights granted by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

HRCM noted that the Criminal Court denied requests made by the commission to observe trials.

Advocacy group Transparency Maldives (TM) also expressed “grave concern” on the guilty verdict, stressing Nasheed was denied legal representation, right to appeal and adequate time to build a defence against new terror charges.

TM also noted that the “serious issues of conflict of interest were prevalent in the case” with two of the three judges presiding over the case having provided statements during the investigation.

“These procedural irregularities raise serious questions about the fairness, transparency and independence of the judicial process followed and the provision of the accused’s inalienable right to a fair trial,” read a TM statement today.

TM called upon state actors to “uphold democratic principles and international conventions”, while urging the public and law enforcement agencies to “exercise restraint and calm in order to mitigate further deterioration of the security situation in the Maldives.”

Knaul had previously expressed concern over lack of due process in a 2012 trial in which Nasheed had been charged with “arbitrarily detaining” Judge Abdulla at the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court.

Knaul questioned the constitutionality of the magistrate court and the appointment of the three-judge panel, “which seems to have been set up in arbitrary manner, without following procedures set by law.”

“It is indeed difficult to understand why one former President is being tired for an act he took outside his prerogative, while another has not had to answer for any of the alleged human rights violations documented over the years,” wrote Knaul, in her report to the UN Human Rights council following her mission in Maldives in February 2013.

Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin in February withdrew the lesser charges and re-prosecuted Nasheed on harsher terror charges.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have expressed concern with the lack of due process, while Amnesty International said Nasheed’s sentencing “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

Related to this story

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

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

US, EU, and UK concerned over lack of due process in Nasheed trial

Nasheed trial “not free or fair,” says Maldivian Democracy Network

Former President Nasheed appears in court with arm in makeshift sling


9 thoughts on “Democracy Network alerts Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges on Nasheed’s sham trial”

  1. Come on guys. We are not concerned much about the statements and their concerns in regard to the former presidents trial . You all are broke and a few dollars more shall ahut you up like the CONI. Just keep on making more noise and you just may increase the reward

  2. The people of the Maldives have a choice. They can either accept or reject the authoritarian regime that is ruling them. There is no regime in the world that is more powerful than the people they rule over.

    Clearly, the incarceration of Nasheed has been long in the planning. From the day that Nasheed shocked the Gayyoom family by relegating them from their comfortable seat of 30 years of power, every possible avenue has been explored in order to put an end to Nasheed's political life. That culminated yesterday.

    All the intermediate steps, including the various dubious advice given to Nasheed by his "advisers" was part of this ploy. The final pieces fell into place when Yameen consolidated the entire judiciary into his hands.

    Once again, Nasheed has been imprisoned for being a "terrorist". Nothing new for him (he's been to jail several times before at the mercy of the Gayyoom family), but the first time a democratically elected President of this country was ever convicted as a "terrorist".

  3. It is time to do something more constructive than just express concern. Those who seek change in the Maldives have done and are in the process of doing a great deal to help themselves. It is time for the international bodies such as the UN, EU, and the Commonwealth to help them.

    If there is no more help, then stop the rhetoric and watch the country slide backwards in all the things that these international bodies stand for and had promised to uphold: justice, democratic ideals and the rule of law.

    Please, what more evidence do you need to see that something is extremely rotten in the state of Maldives?

  4. when Nasheed locked the supreme court , it was legal.

    When Nasheed meddle with the judiciary commission , it was legal.

    When Nasheed kidnaped the judge , it was legal.

    When Nasheed arrested President yameen, it was legal

    When Nasheed arrested Gasim , it was legal

    When Nasheed arrested Dr. Jameel it was legal.

    When Nasheed arretsed Mahloof, MP , it was legal.

    When Nasheed dissolved the existing MACL board and appointed a new board and got the new bard signed airport deal with GMR less than 24 hrs of appointment , against the parliament decision, it becomes legal.

    I wonder where was then this so called " democracy network and other international bodies then ?

    May be when Nasheed carries out such illegal action, we will have to change our constitution to accommodate those illegal action as a part of the constitution.

  5. A supreme court that perverts the course of justice deserves to be locked up.

    A judicial commission that serves injustice deserves reform.

    A judge that has blood on his hands deserves to be arrested.

    Yameen, Gasim and Mahloof was arrested on charges brought by the then-opposition Maumoonist MPs.

    The GMR deal was brokered by the world bank; a far more trustworthy group than the opposition-majority parliament.

    All you have are your lies and your maybes.

    Well guess what? No one's buying them!

  6. @ Hero
    Why don't you put a sock in your big mouth and shut it? Or stick some elastoplast across it?
    What would a madrasa educated moron like you know about democracy and fair play anyway. Did you study any other subjects in your back street madrasa apart from koranic studies and sharia law?
    Are you known to the ruling family? A driver, cook or security guard perhaps? You appear too dumb for anything else.

  7. @hero

    apartheid was also legal
    so was colonialism
    so was slavery...

    So being legal is not everything. What we are seeking here is right vs wrong.
    btw I'm no supporter of Anni. But he has been dealt unjustly.

  8. Nasheed must be responsible for his action and he himself told that by arresting the judge, he know he will have to face the consequence one day.

    Look at what he has said in 2012 Jan. at the artificial beach in front of thousands of people and it was telecasted live on Tvs.

    I guess if he need to be made above the law, then we should abolish our constitution and let the country rule of law be Nasheed actions and his words.

    No matter what , Nasheed is a criminal and he was a dictator and he had ruled the country for his now men only and majority of the people had suffered so badly .

  9. @MissIndia.
    We don't need Miss Agrawal Thug to tell us what to do and we don't need you and we don't need GMR . Go home try to clean your own country first


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