High Court overturns Criminal Court suspension of MP Imthiyaz

The High Court yesterday ruled that the suspension of lawyer and MP Imthiyaz Fahmy for six months by Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed for alleged contempt of court in February 2010 was unlawful.

The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Maafanu North had appealed the decision in May 2010.

The three-judge panel of the High Court found that the suspension violated principles of procedural fairness and due process for declaring persons in contempt of court.

The judges noted that while the suspension was reported in local media the following day, Imthiyaz was not officially informed of the sanction until March 9, 2010.

Existing regulations however required that contempt of court must be declared either immediately during proceedings or established in a separate trial after offering the opportunity for the contemnor to answer the charge of contempt.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Imthiyaz observed that Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed faced multiple allegations of misconduct and political bias.

“Whatever do you expect again from a judge whom in fact the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided to take action against for his ethical misconduct?” he asked.

“This judge has a history of such issues. And never have I heard of a judge other than this judge who was in contempt of court by calling his own court ‘a political campaign camp’. One fatal flaw in the judiciary is that judges like him still sit in court.”

In 2005, then Attorney General Dr Hassan Saeed forwarded to the President’s Office concerns about the conduct of Abdulla Mohamed after he allegedly requested that an underage victim of sexual abuse reenact her abuse for the court.

In 2009 following the election of the current government, those documents were sent to the JSC, which was requested to launch an investigation.

“A good judge would always work towards priding himself on his ability to make good quality decisions but Judge Abdulla Mohamed seems to pride himself on something else,” Imthiyaz contended.

“In fact, if anything goes well in his court, it happens quite by chance.  And this is inevitable since the independence of judges was not well served by the vetting process that took place in August 2010 by the JSC. There are in fact criminal convicts sitting in courts as judges. The amended constitution does not allow for kangaroo courts like this.”


2 thoughts on “High Court overturns Criminal Court suspension of MP Imthiyaz”

  1. Can we truly say that the High Court overturned the decision in Imthiyaz's case when it came long after the sanction has passed already? If overturn means change the decision, of course, it is but there is no benefit to the appellant. He has served the suspension to its full term when it is overturned by the High Court.

    Justice delayed is justice denied is true to the letter. Imthiyaz has suffered tremendous loss in legal fees over a period of six months. Who is responsible for the loss, the High Court for delaying justice or the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court for the legally incorrect decision?

    As a lawyer, Imthiyaz would decide which court will make the loss good.

  2. True Anees. Agree with you wholeheartedly.

    However, one point comes to mind when I think about this whole incident.

    Would it not be in everyone's interests to bar Members of Parliament from acting as solicitors in court. Imthiyaz could surely continue as a notary or a barrister. However this just leads to further politicization of the courts. Also we are paying these MPs quite a hefty sum in order to compensate them for revenue lost from being unable to pursue other careers.

    So I propose that MPs should at least be barred from advocating at the courts.


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