Elections Commission Head warns a compromised Nasheed trial could create doubt over election integrity

President of the Elections Commission (EC) Fuad Thaufeeq has expressed concern over former President Mohamed Nasheed’s decision to take refuge in the Indian High Commission.

Former President Nasheed sought refuge last Wednesday claiming his security was compromised and that the government was intending to arrest and convict him to prevent him contesting the 2013 presidential elections.

Speaking to local media, the elections commission chief said it was deeply concerning to see the presidential candidate of the largest political party seeking refuge from a diplomatic office.

Thaufeeq said Nasheed was a former President and ought to receive the privileges entitled to a former president as stipulated in the law.

“Firstly, Nasheed is a former president, secondly he a presidential candidate of a political party. Thirdly, he represents the largest political party in the country. Each of these factors carries significant weight,” Thaufeeq said.

He said the Elections Commission would do everything it could to find a solution for all the parties involved, including the former president.

Thaufeeq said Nasheed should get a fair trial in accordance with the constitution and the law, and that such a trial should not be politically motivated.

The President of the Elections Commission warned that if Nasheed’s trial proved to be a tool to bar him from contesting the scheduled presidential elections, it would cast doubt over the integrity of the election.

“Even if it is Abdulla Yameen or Umar Naseer or Gasim Ibrahim or Mohamed Nasheed or even Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, these people have all announced they will contest the elections. If one of them happens to be on trial, that trial must be free and fair,” he told local newspaper Haveeru.

The Elections Commission has announced that the election will take place on September 7.

Nasheed is being tried for his controversial detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, during his final days in office in January 2012.

Nasheed sought refuge in the Indian High Commission ahead of the second hearing of his ongoing criminal trial, after an order was issued by the magistrate court to place him under police custody.

After entering the High Commission, Nasheed tweeted: “Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives.”

Rumours of Nasheed’s imminent arrest began to circulate on Tuesday (February 12) ahead of the scheduled hearing, prompting his supporters to camp in the narrow alley outside his family home in Male’.

Following the Indian High Commission’s decision to take Nasheed in, police failed to produce him stating they did not have the jurisdiction to enter the premises, citing the protections of the Vienna convention to which the Maldives is signatory.  The hearing was subsequently cancelled in his absence.

The government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik expressed concern over the move and accused India of meddling with its domestic affairs.

Speaking to local newspaper Haveeru on Thursday (February 14), Home Minister Mohamed Jameel said attempts by any country to prevent a person from facing charges pressed by an independent Prosecutor General (PG), could be described as interfering with domestic matters of a sovereign state.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Jameel implied that India was meddling in the Maldives’ internal affairs: “What’s happening now gives us an indication of the extent and level of interest some countries prepared to take in our internal matters,” he said.

“I would strongly urge everyone to let our institutions deal with the challenges, allow Maldives to uphold rule of law,” he tweeted.

statement released by India’s Ministry of External Affairs following the development called on the government of Maldives to facilitate an inclusive election in which all political party leaders could take part.

“Now that the President of the Election Commission of Maldives has announced that Presidential elections would be held on 7 September 2013, it is necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognised political parties be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance. Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives,” read the statement.

The United States, United Kingdom, UN, EU and Commonwealth have all followed India‘s lead and stressed the need for the next presidential election to be an inclusive election.

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has maintained that the charges are a politically-motivated attempt to prevent him contesting the 2013 elections.


14 thoughts on “Elections Commission Head warns a compromised Nasheed trial could create doubt over election integrity”

  1. Thouafeeg is in Maldives and he should see himself whether there was any eminent threat to Nasheed in the country as FILI Nasheed saying.

    If Thouafeeg is not deaf and blind he should judge himself this before making any statements

  2. Its is shameful to note the relayed statement by Nasheed asserting his security compromised. Further his senseless rhetoric stating the impending instability in indian ocean misrepresenting the context to his personal advantage is also a deliberate act to misguide the international community. The justice system has problems, but the accusation is true apparently giving way a judgement against him. He knows that, and thts the reason he is playing hide and seek. We have set new precedents which are back sliding the democratic process since 2008. It will be another fall out from constitution. The culture of extricating the lines of the system is the new born culture of this amateur democracy.

  3. Kuribee, For a blind man like you, of course the whole world would appear blind only.

    Not only Thaufeeq, but the entire Maldives and international community knows the truth that the coup gov's one and only agenda now is to bar Nasheed from elections by Kangaroo court verdict and then to eliminate him. That's all.

  4. Lack of independence of the judiciary is a well known thing in the Maldives. In my lifetime, which is longer than that of most living Maldivians,there has never been an independent judiciary in the Maldives.
    The judiciary and the police were the instruments of public policy used by the dictatorial rulers who came from the Maldivian aristocracy which was entirely based in Male.
    The judges and the policemen in Male, on the other hand, came mainly from islands other than Male. These people were commoners as the aristocracy saw it, and these commoners in turn were deferential and subservient to the ruling aristocracy.
    During the autocratic 30 year rule of aristocrat Gayoom, Moosa Fathy, Ismail Fathy, and more noticeably Mohamed Zahir Hussein were examples of commoners who rose to the top of society by faithful and loyal service to the ruler.
    My father, Abdullah Fahmy,was a commoner too, and he was Chief Justice to Prime Minister, and later President Mohamed Ameen. Though a commoner, my father was well connected to the ruling aristocracy, and rose to dizzy heights by virtue of loyal and faithful service to the Maldivian state and government.
    I have written proof in my personal possession that my father was not an independent judge, and, moreover, he did not even know what the independence of the judiciary means.
    Top Maldivian judges were trained in Al Azhar University in Egypt. These judges were basically Islamic scholars. They did not know anything other than Islam, and were not supposed to.
    That is why they were not independent judges.They did not know anything other than Islam.The country of Egypt where these Maldivian judges studied did not get independent judges until President Husni Mubarak fell from power quite recently. Egypt did not have an independent judiciary as late as that.
    How then can you expect an independent judiciary in the Maldives where political dictators appeared one after the other, until Gayoom vacated political power, and western educated young Mohamed Nasheed became president.
    I personally knew the three Chief Justices who came after my father. They were first Ali Hussein Didi,then Mohamed Jameel Didi, and then Moosa Fahmy. They were all basically similar types of men, except that they were all younger than my father, and were of a later generation.
    My father was of the same generation as Mr Gayoom's father.
    Moosa Fahmy, though Chief Justice for nearly 40 years (he started as CJ when Mr Nasir was president) was a personal friend and colleague of his boss President Gayoom, and, needless to say, could not have been an independent Chief Justice.
    Such is the history and pedigree of the Maldivian Judiciary. Without any fear of being contradicted, I can say that President Mohamed Nasheed was the very first Maldivian ruler to ever have wanted an independent judiciary.
    The reasons are obvious to me. Nasheed really believed in democracy as it is practised in Britain, and he wanted a democratic political future for his native country, the Maldives.
    But, and this a big big BUT. Nasheed's arrest of the judge was a political and executive act.
    The hullabaloo that has followed it is also essentially political in nature.
    It is an unfortunate fact of life in the Maldives that there is no judiciary independent enough, or perceived to be so.
    The de facto Maldivian government must give a written assurance to the Indian government that Mohamed Nasheed will not be put on trial and that he can start his campaign for presidency without fear of arrest.
    India is a friendly country and will not interfere in the internal affairs of Maldives. India is a good friend to the Maldives, and wants Maldives to succeed.
    The Election Commissioner has given a good and useful warning. For the greater and long term good of the country, our Judiciary and the Executive must heed this advice and warning.

  5. There is an error in the previous post. Read Chief Justice Moosa Fathy where it says Moosa Fahmy. Thank you.

  6. Instead of constantly harping on the elections and their integrity. I think greater focus needs to be brought upon the court.

    @kuribee: How close minded can you be? Yes, Nasheed should face trial over his controversial actions last year but the judicial system is broken and of course they are trying to bar him from the elections.

    For them the rule of law only matter if they can take out political opponents and aid their allies who are filling their pockets.

    But considering what I've seen your posts, this fact will probably pass over your head.

  7. @Michael Fahmy on Sun, 17th Feb 2013 9:20 PM

    "Read Chief Justice Moosa Fathy where it says Moosa Fahmy."

    Oh yes, of course. He used to deliver the most boring Friday sermons ever! His sermons would have cured the most severe cases of insomnia, for sure. May his soul rest in peace.

    By the way, thanks for the history lesson. A lot of people here and elsewhere probably don't know half of that. You're right that Nasheed wanted a liberal democracy and an independent judiciary here in the Maldives. He was surrounded by colourful figures who dragged him from the frying pan into the fire, eventually. I'm not certain that people such as Afeef were the type of individual that were needed to carry that vision of democratic transformation. Anyway, that's history.

    The current regime has equally dubious chaps, such as anti-Semitic Jameel, Nazim etc. Are these guys really leaders capable of transforming a country into a working democracy? Don't think so.

  8. @Ibrahin Riaz

    The justice system has its problems?
    No kidding.

    Wake up, Riaz.

    There is NO justice system in the country. We have a bench handpicked by Gayoom who bids as their master orders.

    As for your comment that we have backslided, what did you expect with a judiciary, a parliament, and "independent" commissions whose interests appear to be to represent Gayoom and his family, not the people.?

    The Maldives is set to become another Pakistan. A failed state.

  9. @ibbe

    I feel pity that people tend to disregard rule of law when it comes to their favorites. If he hasnt done anything wrong why is he absconding from trial. Our politicians are naive or ignorant about the fact that political realism prevails over idealism. And to eradicate anormalies in the system an inclusive process is prerequsite. Provocative language and lack of diplomacy has its consequences. Here in Maldives we dont see national interest, instead its all about parties and faction....anyways thank you for countering my comment....

  10. @riaz:

    Dude, just read Fahmy's post. This is not about playing favorites, this is about a judiciary that is nothing more than a political puppet that is being used against a Presidential candidate in order to bar him from elections and to shatter the countries emerging democracy.

  11. Why did the Government need to a give written confirmation to Indian Government that Nasheed will not be put on trial for crimes that Nasheed had committed. Maldives is not part of India and we are a sovereign country and India has no rights to interfere with the domestic issue.

    No one is above the law and Nasheed must defend himself before the court .

    Nasheed is a traitor to the nation and he is now trying his tactics to get India involved in our domestic issues . We have seen in the past similar people like Nashed who had helped the foreign countries to invade Maldives and Nasheed actions are similar to them now.

    Nasheed trial must go and this government must not meddle with the judiciary system and Judiciary must take the responsibility by themselves and carry the trail as per the laws.

    If Nasheed is proved to be innocent, then he must be allowed to contest in the elections and then government should not try to bar him from taking part.

    But if Nasheed can not prove himself of his innocence, then Nasheed must not be allowed to take part in the election.

    If India or any other international community want to foresee Nasheed trial then they should be allowed to observe the process and Judiciary should welcome them.

  12. @ Michael Fahmy & others.

    I doubt that President Nasheed's aim was ever to establish a liberal Democracy in the Maldives. Certainly post Sept 11th, paying lip service to the ideals enshrined in liberal Democracy afforded Go Go Latheef & Co the means to break the stranglehold of power held by Authoritarian MAG.

    A democrat starting off to establish Liberal Democracy in a country used to authoritarian rule for decades would be seen to lead by example and shun the authoritarian, corrupt ways of former dictators of another era.

    Instead President Nasheed on whom we staked so much resorted to the vile old ways of the past - bribing, threatening, resorting to violence, enriching himself & his cabal.

     Thus We saw how he chose to deal with a hung and unfriendly Parliment - by arresting leading political opponents without due process and buying by bribing crooked loud n foul mouthed parliamentarians in the mould of Ali Waheed.

    The greatest pointer to Nasheed n his Cabbal's true intentions were demonstrated in their dealings with the judiciary. He intimidated judges went wild on podiums with his side kick Reeko threatening all sorts of threats. The unfortunate Dr Afrasheem seemed the only Maldivian with gutts to make public Nasheeds attempts to influence judges by phone calls & behind the scenes manoeuvring. Conveniently for Nasheed & his thugs Dr Afrasheem was brutally murdered. 

    As if that was not enough corruption and party cronyism exploded - financed by taxing the public, selling off the publics few assets and attempting to collect tourism rents upto 25 years in advance.

    The muppets that we are,  we still beat the drums of this idiot in the mask of liberal Democracy!

    Guess what?

    We have the knutts to call for an independant judiciary while advocating a seperate standard of law for Nasheed.

    Michael seems to take pleasure in slinging mud at his chief justice father. Maybe to impress the gullible on his credentials. However he are talking about 3 chief justices in an era that is different to ours with different citizens capabilities n political realities. 

    For Michaels information the legal education n training imparted by Al Azhar in Egypt pushed chief justices to vacate their seats when their independence was not guaranteed. It did happen in Maldives too. But when ones aim is to spin then there is no way out.

    Nasheed is a fraud! What gives me hope is that great many  Maldivians saw him for what he is. In my family he lost no less than 20 votes!

  13. " “Firstly, Nasheed is a former president, secondly he a presidential candidate of a political party. Thirdly, he represents the largest political party in the country. Each of these factors carries significant weight,” Thaufeeq said. ".

    This may be the case if or when someone think in terms what is said to be without prejudice!

    However, there is a gang out there in power (legally or illegally) in a visible and doubtful way who do not want the name of President Nasheed, to be on the ballot paper for the oncoming election, or perhaps ever again!

  14. It appears that there is only one court case in the Maldives that the present govt, judiciary and police are seeking.. what about the endless cases which are of corruption, child abuse, murder, stabbing and other major issues hidden under the table? No one else has a case charged except these guys chasing President Nasheed, a hilarious joke for the world really...Why not chase President Gayoom and his cronies first for the damge done to many families, torture of prison, , funds missing and abused etc..disgusting when jameel talks about law and order, this guy has a brain that of a flea.. seek justice first from other cases and when th judiciary has finished with cleaning the desk then turn to Nasheed, but first clean the corruption cases of this gaazi Abdulla who became a so called judge without any qualification...


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