Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court rejected a case forwarded by the Prosecutor General against former President Mohamed Nasheed and three Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers for their alleged role in detaining Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
Hulhumale’ Court Magistrate Moosa Naseem told Minivan News that the case was sent back to the Prosecutor General’s Office after the court stated it did not have the jurisdiction to deal with such cases under the Judicature Act.
‘’We studied the case and we found that we do not have the jurisdiction to deal with the case according to article 66 of the Judicature Act,’’ Naseem said.
Naseem today told local media that the Hulhumale’-based court can only accept the case after the Chief Justice issues a decree in agreement with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Judicial Council as stated in the article 66[b] of the Judicature Act.
Article 66[b] of the Judicature Act states that “In accordance with Section (a) of this Article, if additions or omission to the jurisdictions stipulated in schedule 5 of this Act has to be carried out, the modification has to be done in agreement with the Judicial Service Commission and the Judicial Council and by a decree issued by the Chief Justice.’’
Deputy Prosecutor General Husaain Shameem said he was presently on leave and was not aware of the exact details of the matter when contacted by Minivan News. Prosecutor General Muiz was also not responding to calls by Minivan News at the time of press.
Earlier, Muiz has said that the case was sent to Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court because it related to the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court. He contended therefore that the case cannot be filed at the same court overseen by the judge owing to a conflict of interest.
Former President Nasheed has said that he is “prepared” to justify the reasons for the arrest of Judge Abdulla, and said he was ready to appear in court and prove his actions were valid.
Nasheed also dismissed accusations of the High Court, the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general that he had ordered the military to arrest Judge Abdulla unlawfully.
“I did nothing unlawful during my tenure,” he challenged.
He also called on the population to be present at his trial and witness what happened in the court, alleging that the whole case was politically motivated and that his opponents were seeking to gain an unfair upper hand from the “political scandal”.
The Chief Judge was detained by the military, after he had opened the court outside normal hours to order the immediate release of former Justice Minister and current Home Minister and deputy leader of the Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), Dr Mohamed Jameel.
In late 2011, Judge Abdulla was himself under investigation by the JSC, the country’s judicial watchdog, for allegedly politically biased comments made to private broadcaster DhiTV. The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) was due to release a report into Judge Abdulla’s ethical misconduct, however the judge approached the Civil Court and successfully filed an injunction against his further investigation by the judicial watchdog.
Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked three weeks of anti-government protests in January, leading the Nasheed administration to appeal for international assistance from the Commonwealth and UN to reform the judiciary.