The Maldivian Democratic Party’s southern campaigning continues whilst legal sparring continues in the capital Male’.
A request for the delay of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s criminal court trial has been rejected as the MDP reaches the tour’s 10th island.
Spokesperson for the Department of Judicial Administration Latheefa Qasim confirmed that the Hulhumale’ court had received the request on Friday night, which had given the southern campaign as a reason for the postponement.
“This reason is not included in the regulations so the court cannot act upon it,” said Latheefa, who explained that the trial would go ahead as scheduled – tomorrow at 4:00PM.
After Nasheed’s decision not to attend his first hearing on Monday, instead leaving Male’ in contravention of a travel ban, the police were requested to present the MDP’s presidential candidate in the court for the re-scheduled hearing.
Nasheed stands accused of illegally detaining Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January of this year.
Despite rumours that security forces had been dispatched to return Nasheed to Male’, the flotilla of ships on the MDP’s ‘Journey of Pledges’ have as yet seen no sign of any police of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) vessels.
Police have today said that it under the current court order, Nasheed could only be brought before the Hulhumale’ court with his consent.
MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor did mention that the MDP had encountered some opposition from locals on Gemanafushi in Gaafu Alif atoll.
A large tree was floated across the entrance to the harbour in order to prevent the flotilla from gaining access to the island, although Ghafoor said that the log was soon moved and a warm welcome was given by many of the islanders.
“We expected trouble,” said Ghafoor. “It was a weak attempt to make news. Eventually, the protesters could not overpower our numbers.”
The MDP also reported that a boat named ‘Orchid 101’ attempted to block the harbour entrance.
Local media reported that the protest was organised by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), speaking with the Island Council’s President Asim Mohamed.
“The people protested against Nasheed about three issues. One is that he has ignored the fact that the nation is mourning and is continuing with his tour, the second issue is that he disobeyed Court Orders, and the third is the unrest created in the island during his previous visits,” Asim told Sun Online.
Ghafoor also noted that the party had prepared an appeal to the high court regarding Nasheed’s criminal court trial.
“The National Executive Committee (NEC) said we do not accept lower courts. The president will appeal to the high court,” said Ghafoor.
“Democracy has gone wrong – summons to court represents corruption in the courts,” he added, stating that the lower courts were not recognised due to their failure to have adhered to article 285 of the 2008 constitution.
This article required that all judges not having met a level of qualifications outlined in article 149 within two years of the constitution’s ratification, be removed from the bench.
Latheefa said she was not yet aware of any high court appeal regarding the Abdulla Mohamed case.
After the party’s legal team revealed its concerns over the legality of the Hulhumale’ Magistrates Court – assembled to handle the case – its executive council released a statement announcing it would no longer recognise the authority of the judiciary.
Reform of the judiciary is one of the key recommendations made in the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) which, in August ruled that Nasheed had not been removed in a coup.