Half of former President’s legal team barred from court

Two of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyers have been barred from representing him by the Hulhumale Magistrate Court.

Nasheed is being tried for ordering the detention of Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his final days in office, a move Nasheed’s government defended on grounds of national security after institutions responsible for holding the judiciary accountable failed to do so.

Spokesperson for the Department of Judicial Administration Latheefa Gasim was reported as informing local media that lawyer and former Youth Minister Hassan Latheef had been barred from the trial as the state had called him as a witness.

Another of Nasheed’s defence lawyers, Ahmed Abdulla Afeef, was barred as he had not signed new behavioural regulations for lawyers recently issued by the Supreme Court.

This regulation, published earlier this year in June, prevents lawyers from openly criticising discrepancies within the courts, among other restrictions.

Following its publication a number of the country’s top lawyers held a crisis meeting to try and amend the regulations, including Prosecutor General Abdulla Muiz, Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem (now resigned) and Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed.

Nasheed has two remaining lawyers: former President’s Office Legal Advisor Hisaan Hussain and Criminal Court lawyer Abdulla Shair.

Latheef was not responding to calls at time of press, while Hisan told Minivan News that Nasheed’s defence counsel were preparing a statement on the matter.

A legal source familiar with the Nasheed case told Minivan News that Afeef was one of the lawyers who contested the legality of the Supreme Court’s issuing of behavioural guidelines for lawyers, which he had refused to sign in protest.

“He submitted the matter to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) in writing. However in the interest of this trial he has submitted the documents to sign the decree,” the source stated.

Latheef, meanwhile, had been summoned as a witness by the state to prove that Abdulla Mohamed had been kept on the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) training island of Girifushi, “a fact not disputed by anyone,” the source said.

“The court is right – a key witness cannot serve as a defence lawyer because of conflict of interest,” the legal source added, “but it looks like a deliberate attempt by the Prosecutor General to sabotage the defence counsel and make its work difficult.”

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have previously alleged that the trial is a politically-motivated effort to convict and bar the former President from competing in future elections.

During the first hearing, Nasheed’s defence challenged the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court which it alleged had been created by the JSC without constitutional authority.

The JSC has also appointed the three-member panel of judges which overseeing the trial of the former President. The Commission’s members include two of Nasheed’s direct political opponents, including Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid – Deputy of the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) – and Gasim Ibrahim, resort tycoon, media owner, MP and leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP), also a member of the governing coalition.

UK lawyers to assist defence

The MDP has meanwhile confirmed that two senior UK-based legal experts – one a specialist in Shariah Law – will be joining the defence team: Sir Ivan Lawrence QC and Barrister Ali Mohammed Azhar.

One lawyer told Minivan News that the appointment of two foreign legal experts in a domestic trial was an “unprecedented” development in the Maldives’ legal history, however Nasheed’s legal team has stated that the foreign lawyers will be unable to represent the former President in court and will instead provide advice and counsel.


8 thoughts on “Half of former President’s legal team barred from court”

  1. Lawyering is a Jewish profession anyway. I don't really see why we need such miscreants. Pious men and a competent ulammah can render justice more effectively without lawyers making a mockery of themselves trying to fool them one way or the other.

  2. We need to establish new laws and regulations for nasheed and his incompetent legal team.

  3. hey . wait a min. Muiz is the prosecutor general innit ? azima is the attorney general with big guns

  4. What a sham this is turning out to be.

    It looks as if Dr. Waheed is unable to prevail over the coalition in place. I would go so far as to say that DR. Waheed should have threatened to resign rather than compromise on the principles of democracy and discount the freedoms of the citizens of this country.

    Dr Waheed has got nothing more to prove. He took the reins of this nation with the country in all sorts of trouble economically, socially and politically very much on the way to become a pariah state thanks to the onslaught by President Nasheed backed by his foreign backers with the British Conservative party at their head. That Dr. Waheed was able to withstand the storm with calm dignity and firmness putting his country firmly back on the track of Democracy is admirable and probably given credit long after he is gone. Now the indications are that Dr. Waheed and possibly Dr. Hassan Saeed and other lovers of freedom and justice are side-lined.

    Like any problem; dealing with President Nasheed offered a plethora of possibilities and certainly the best option is not to curtail the ex-Presidents defense by decimating his defense team even before he has dis day in courts. Everybody sees through the present legal moves to restrict President Nasheed’s defense and goes to prove that we are having nothing else but the same spirit of things as when President Nasheed was in power – TO IGNORE THE SPIRIT OF THE CONSTITUTION. The only difference is that all the parties are now working together within the framework of the law to defeat the spirit of the constitution.

    The better option would have been to give all possible assistance to President Nasheed’s defense to play out all the strategies or loop holes that he could use even challenging the constitution of the Hulumale Magisterial court. I would go so far as to say that the state in the interests of the public should have taken on the expenses of President Nasheed’s defense offering him to hire the best of legal advice locally and internationally. This is to assist President Nasheed in every possible way to mount his defense. This is no ordinary case. This is a signature case that COULD have served a lesson to our citizens and their future generations that impartial justice the rule of law and civil society is not just a dream but a reality - a right afforded them in their sacred texts.

    It looks as if Dr. Waheed is after serving the purpose of weathering the International political firestorm is reduced to a lame duck President and of course the politicians who like Nasheed with half-baked ideas of Democracy and lip service to the freedoms of its citizen has had their day. President Nasheed and his “authoritarian Spirit” has won the day.

    The people of this country HAVE NO REAL CHOICE - All sides are making a monkey of the principles of fair justice, something the Citizens of this country deserves as so clearly mandated in their sacred texts. Injustice corrupts and you will next see the slow erosion of the rights of the citizens of this nation. Exactly what we saw when Judge Abdullah’s rights were trampled. All the wannabe despots’ starts by invoking “national security” interests of the land; when there is no REAL threat to national security interests EXACTLY AS PR. NASHEED DID – all in the interests of restricting the freedoms of the people; because they deemed it was best for the people. That’s what Stalin did, Chairman Mao did.

    The Irony is that we are again reduced to praying that the international Community with all its force ensure that President Nasheed is afforded fair JUSTICE. A sad day prayer given that we are a Sovereign nation.

  5. T. Dont fool yourself.

    We have been under the colonialism of Maumoon for 30 years. We broke free for 3 years, but then - after a a slow campaign of encroachment, the Maumoonists are back in power, and their viceroy is Waheed.

    We only had a taste of sovereignity from 2008 to 2011.

  6. @Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb.
    It is a monkey who is in charge!
    He's got his hands on the candy in a hole!
    But he can't just let it go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Monkey likes candy, monkey likes cane!
    But this monkey in charge is such a darned fool he cannot remember even a simple request!

    Expect the next obstruction!

    Criminals are surely at work!


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