MP rejects authority of Criminal Court after judge releases armed “I was just cooking” civilian

Today’s Criminal Court hearing for a case involving ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Thimmarafushi Mohamed Musthafa was cancelled after the MP refused to accept the court summons on the grounds that the court’s judges were unlawfully appointed.

Musthafa added that Thimarafushi island council had advised against his attending the hearing.

Musthafa’s comment came after the Criminal Court today ordered the release of a man arrested for carrying a knife as protesters spread throughout Male’ on Friday evening.

Hassan Areef, who has prior convictions for violence, was arrested in Henveiru ward by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) before being handed over to police.

Appearing in court today, Areef claimed he had been preparing a meal using a butter knife when he went outside to see the commotion, unintentionally carrying the knife with him, according to local media.

The criminal court accepted Areef’s version and ordered his release. Police have announced their intention to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the court, Musthafa justified his refusal by citing President Mohamed Nasheed’s position that lower court judges were not appointed in accordance with Article 149 of the constitution, therefore their rulings held no legal weight.

According to Article 149, “A person appointed as a Judge in accordance with law, must possess the educational qualifications,  experience  and  recognised competence necessary to discharge the duties and responsibilities of a Judge, and must be of high moral character.”

The article further requires judges to be a Sunni Muslim of at least 25 years of age, who has not been convicted of an offence and is of sound mind.

Musthafa has been charged for bounced cheques.

The MP faces multiple charges of cheque fraud, notably over transactions made by his company Seafood International Pvt Ltd.

Citing deception by food supplier General Meat Ltd, Musthafa threatened legal action against the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) in November if it did not pay the US$500,000 that the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) owed Seafood International.

Musthafa alleged that the sum was due to be paid to his company according to a 1991 London court ruling.

Citing MMA as the “live branch of BCCI in the Maldives,” Musthafa previously stated that “the debt of a dead person has to be paid by a living legal parent. If the MMA does not pay us within seven days we will sue the MMA in court and when we sue, we will ask the court to take the amount of money for the loss we have had for the past 20 years as a cause of not having this money.’’

Meanwhile, a case filed in 2009 by opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Vice President Umar Naseer claims Musthafa must be removed from Parliament due to a decreed debt which is in violation of Article 73(c)1.

The Supreme Court was due to rule on a case against Musthafa on October 20, however proceedings were interrupted when MDP called for a nation-wide protest against the judiciary during an emergency meeting.

Speaking to Minivan News at the time, MDP MP and spokesperson for the party’s Parliamentary Group, Mohamed Shifaz, said judges had been blackmailed and that the party would protest the politicised judiciary indefinitely.

This month, the opposition took up the protest baton and demanded the release of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed from military detention. The Judge was arrested on January 16, 2012. Protestors have demonstrated against the government since that date.

Contending that the judge was lawfully arrested, the government has requested international legal assistance to resolve what has been labelled a “judicial crisis”.


14 thoughts on “MP rejects authority of Criminal Court after judge releases armed “I was just cooking” civilian”

  1. Mustafa how can u sue the are refusing to attend court stating that the judges are appointed illegaly....i guess u can sue by using the courts made by Reeco moosa MP ...

  2. I thought the narrative was about Mustafa and his good fortune when it comes to MDP and opposition protests conveniently giving him relief from his legal issues. Though i honestly believe this is coincidence and Mustafa just taking advantage of the chaos in the country. I'm sure that other less than reputable businessmen are doing the same.

  3. A sad day for the good people of Thimarafushi when they are shamed by their elected leader in this way.

    This is all nonsense and only goes to show that the judiciary is not the problem but rather political conflict and the conduct of our politicians.

  4. Mustafa represents all that is wrong with MDP and parliamentarians in general. Thanks to people like him, President Nasheed loses credibility day by day.

    If Nasheed is serious about his reform of the country, he should make an example out of Mustafa and make sure he faces the full force of justice, and not let him get away in this manner. Dealing with the likes of Mustafa is equally important to clearing the judiciary of the Abdulla Mohammeds.

    The longer Mustafa avoids the law, the less credible will be the administration's case against the judiciary.

  5. Mustapha is right that the judges are not appointed according to the constitution. He should also be debarred if he has committed any crime.

    This is becoming a complete farce. The JSC has been the joke of the decade.

  6. nasheed lost his credibility, the day he said the famous words "alhuganaduge party meehaku........alhuganduge nulafaakan dhakkaalaanan"; where he warned all maldivians who are not MDP, that he would show his cruelty to us and that we cannot even fathom the lengths he would go to......this man and his cronies and english buddies will destroy this nation,
    the so called champions of democracy has failed to uphold the basic/ core values.....and no amount of translations by Zuhair, and lawyering by maria and inthi, and screeching from alhan fahmy will change it. As maumoon said "no one is above the law"

  7. At the moment, everything in this country is a problem. All the political parties, the Parliament, the Government, including the civil servants, etc. But the BIGGEST problem of all is without any doubt the Judiciary, because they have the ultimate reponsibility and mandate to ensure that there is justice in this country. Yet, when the whole court system is full of self serving and corrupt judges, how can they even start to implement any laws?! When criminals go unpunished based on which party they belong to, THAT is a HUGE problem. We cannot address corruption, consequences arising from negligence of duties by political leaders and civil servants or anything for that matter, as long as there is no effective and efficient justice system. If you want to hate President Nasheed and MDP, hate them all you like but atleast have the common sense to realize that to even bring them to justice or hold them accountable, we NEED a CLEAN and EFFECTIVE judicial system, not some leftovers from the past regime who undoubtely have pledged their loyalty to their former leader Maumoon, and NOT to the protection of our Country. Yes, no one is above the law, but the question for this country is "what law?". The simple fact that the legal system in this country is so muddled up, shows just how badly the judicial system has failed, there is simply no argument there.

  8. Strange. Is this Article about musthafa or the guy carrying the butter knife ?

    and incidentally, if a guy came to stab me with a butter knife and was caught will the courts let him go if he says "i was just buttering bread" ....

    What kinda legal system is this....

  9. A small group of Lawyers of highly questionable pedigree namely Shaheen Hameed, Azima Shukoor and Hassan Saeed, key players in the Gayyoom Dictatorship standing up for a corrupt Judge Abdullah Ghaazee will not surprise a Maldivian. Their activism simply reinforce their standing and convince us of their irrelevance

  10. Dear Elenor Johnston,

    Please dont write about things you dont know. Someone like you simply wont have the capacity to know this man Thimarafushi mustafa. take my word for this.

  11. Mustafa - a sad affair for everyone not only Thimarafushi, President Nasheed or MDP.
    There are several who love and support MDP, but now with "Renowned" Mustafa around!


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