JSC seeks to gag Velezinee with new secrecy regulations

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has appointed a special three-member team to decide on the best course of action against JSC member Aishath Velezinee, for removing official documents from the Commission’s premises.

The JSC, which is yet to adopt a Standards of Procedure a year after the 26 January 2010 deadline, earlier this month passed new secrecy regulations that make it an offence for members to reveal any Commission business to the public without prior authorisation.

The regulations were passed at a meeting on 17 January at which Velezinee was not present, and the agenda of which, seen by Minivan News, did not indicate any plans or proposals for new secrecy restrictions.

On 24 January, days after passing the new regulations, the JSC set up a special committee comprising Vice Chair Afraasheem Ali, Member Abdullahi Didi, and Deputy Legal Representative Abdul Faththah to discuss how best to apply the new regulations against Velezinee, who it alleges removed a documents file from the presmises on that day.

It is the first time in the history of the new democratic government that a member of an independent Commission, set up by the 2008 Constitution, is being subjected to an internal investigation.

The unprecedented move by JSC is made all the more surprising by the inclusion among the three special investigators a member of the Commission’s staff.

It is rare, if not unknown, for a junior staff member to be placed in a position of deciding disciplinary action against a state official they have been appointed to serve.

Velezinee, an outspoken critic of the JSC’s refusal to adopt a Standards of Procedure as required by the Constitution, earlier this month accused several fellow members of corruption and treason.

She has published a large cache of JSC documents, including audio recordings of Commission meetings, on her personal website as evidence, she says, to support her accusations.

Velezinee also runs a Facebook page dedicated to Article 285 of the Constitution, which regularly carries electronic copies of various official documents from the Commission.

She maintains that the JSC, unlike other independent Commissions set up by the Constitution, should conduct its business publicly. She has lobbied for media access to JSC meetings, a proposal that has not met with unanimous support from other members.

She has also called for an open inquiry into her allegations against the JSC, and has repeatedly challenged Commission Member Abdulla Shahid to respond to her charges of treason against him.

According to Velezinee, Shahid, also Speaker of the Majlis, while straddling two of the democracy’s three separated powers, is gradually executing plans – through the JSC and the Majlis – to take over the third.

Shahid, who has defended himself in the media against other allegations of corruption such as those related to the privatisation of Male’ International Airport, has remained silent on the charges made by Velezinee.

Speaker Shahid is currently travelling the country on a political campaign with opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, and could not be contacted for comment.

Notably, the JSC’s investigation into Velezinee’s decision to remove Commission documents does not make any reference to her publication of JSC internal documents on the internet.

If the JSC were to refer to Velezinee’s publication of the documents, it would be forced to acknowledge her accusations against Speaker Shahid, and itself.

According to a JSC internal memo, also made public by Velezinee, the three investigators will focus their deliberations on what course of action to take against her for removing the documents.

What an offending member does with the documents is not up for regulation or deliberation, as of yet.

Meanwhile, as the JSC considers disciplinary action against one of its own for retrospective infringement of newly-passed secrecy regulations, the Anti Corruption Commission and the police are investigating the JSC.

It is also currently facing allegations of bias in its recent High Court appointments made by two failed candidates, a Civil Court judge and a Family Court judge.

The case is now at the Supreme Court. JSC Chair Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla, who is on the Supreme Court bench, is yet to recuse himself from the case despite the possibility of a conflict of interest.

This is the second time in less than six months that the JSC has had to face allegations of bias in a court of law. Earlier this month, the Civil Court threw out a professional negligence case against the JSC where it stood accused of not performing its Constitutional duty to investigate judiciary misconduct.

Judge Mariyam Nihayath dismissed the case on a technicality – slovenly time keeping by the plaintiff – but not before the JSC admitted it did not have a standard system in place for dealing with complaints of judicial misconduct.

It also became known during the hearings that the JSC received and failed to investigate over 100 complaints received last year.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) visited Male’ on a fact finding mission related to the independence of the country’s judiciary last year. Although the mission was reported as having been completed in September last, its findings are yet to be made public.


9 thoughts on “JSC seeks to gag Velezinee with new secrecy regulations”

  1. Velezinee - we are all so glad that you are on our side, as a voice for the people, fighting for fairness & justice for us all.

    Plots + Power + Treason + Lies + Fear + Corruption

    Justice + Truth + Citizens + State + Rights + Democracy

    We salute you...keep up the good work.

  2. why does it have to be secret? is it some kind of a sex cult where the members get naked and deliberate on the state of justice?

  3. How often have you heard it is the system that need to changes. ACC. Tranparency Maldives etc - they all talk about focusing on changing the system. Well all that is good until JSC now tries to create a system written in rules of procedures to protect their actions. Rules that will stop all efforts of transparency, rules that will give them the right to uphold information. Be it known that if such rules are made for organizations that are supposed to serve the people, they will are tightening the screws so that any one who wants to tell the people what is happening will be at fault by these procedures and prosecuted. What do we Maldivians want??? Do not give any one the space to ABUSE OUR RIGHTS

  4. Salaam,

    What kind of action to take against Valezinee. Obviously some people are not happy enough that she got knifed in the back. They want more. So long as Valezenee fights for transparency these idiots cannot sleep. How about taking the same kind of action the Swedes took against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? A word of advice. Valezenee is not alone in fighting for transparency. Need I say more?

  5. I have no doubt as to the corruptness of the judiciary and powers that be behind it.

    Don't give up Vel.

    You have my support

  6. Ali Rasheed, please do continue and enlighten us. Can't t wait for your next revelation.

  7. this is absolutely ridiculous. the fact that a secrecy regulation is passed (and that too in a very dodgy manner) should be reason enough for the JSC's motives to be suspect.

  8. It's a bit like the majlis regulations which overstep their boundaries. Hopefully supreme court could bring out a ruling overturning this. Velizinee we are with you on this, JSC has to make their dealings public.


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