Nasheed adds third British legal expert to defense team

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has further bolstered his legal team by accepting the services of Kirsty Brimelow QC ahead of the continuation of the Judge Abdulla Mohamed detention case on Sunday.

Brimelow will join fellow UK-based legal experts Sir Ivan Lawrence QC and Barrister Ali Mohammed Azhar on  Nasheed’s defence team.

A statement appearing on Nasheed’s website describes Brimelow as a criminal law specialist with international experience who is “particularly sought after in cases with a human rights law element”.

Brimelow was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011 and has, among a number of high profile cases, acted as Legal Adviser to the Constitution Commission of Fiji. She is vice-chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee and appears regularly on British television and radio.

Earlier this month, the Department of Judicial Administration informed local media that two of Nasheed’s lawyers, Hassan Latheef and Ahmed Adbulla Afeef had been barred from the trial.

Latheef had been barred from the trial as the state had called him as a witness, while Afeef was was barred as he had not signed new behavioural regulations for lawyers recently issued by the Supreme Court, explained department spokesperson Latheefa Gasim.

This leaves just two of Nasheed’s lawyers able to appear in court – former President’s Office Legal Advisor Hisaan Hussain and criminal defence lawyer Abdulla Shair.

Nasheed has stated repeatedly that he feels the outcome of the trial to be pre-ordained, with his conviction designed specifically to prevent him running in next year’s presidential elections.

“On Sunday I will face an extraordinary court, established especially to hear my case,” Nasheed wrote in Britain’s Financial Times this week.

“I am to be tried for abuse of power, in particular for the arrest of a corrupt judge, who was an ally of Mr Gayoom. My conviction is a foregone conclusion. Mohamed Waheed, my former vice-president, may decide to pardon me, but only in a way that ensures I remain barred from seeking office next year,” he wrote.

The issue of Nasheed’s trial was raised in the UK House of Commons this week by Conservative MP Karen Lumley, who asked Alistair Burt – Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, about the fairness of Nasheed’s trial.

“We have sought and received assurances from President Waheed of the Maldives that any trial of former President Nasheed will be fair and free from political influence,” replies Burt.

“No trial date has been set. The next court hearing is on November 4 and we expect international observers to be present,” he added.

In response to Lumley’s question regarding the effect of the trial on a sustainable political outcome in the country, Burt said the following:

“The trial process is, of course, a matter for the Maldives, but there is international concern that if it results in the former President being prevented from leading his party into the elections next year, it will be seen as though the process was designed for exactly that object.”

“We urge political stability under all circumstances in the Maldives, and that will no doubt be enhanced if the former President is allowed to lead his party and take part in those elections,” continued the Under Secretary.

The statement on Nasheed’s website noted that the Attorney General’s regulations prevented any of the new additions to his legal team appearing alongside him in court.

“Article 2 (a) of the regulation states ‘a person has to either be a Maldivian citizen or be married to a Maldivian citizen and reside for most part in the Maldives’ in order to practice law in the Maldives,” read the statement.

“This restriction is a hindrance to clients who wish to have foreign legal professionals represent them in courts of the Maldives,” it said.

Nasheed’s legal team raised several procedural issues at the cases first hearing on October 9, all of which were dismissed by the court.

After challenging this ruling in the High Court, and calling for an injunction to halt the trial until the matter was resolved, it was announced last week that the High Court would hold a hearing on the matter on the morning of November 4 – the same day Nasheed’s trial in the Hulhumale’ Magistrate’s Court recommences.

“The party believes that the result of conducting both hearings on the same day will be the defence attorneys losing the opportunity to prepare for the original case at the Hulhumale Magistrate Court’,” a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) statement read.

The party held a march around the capital island Male’ on Tuesday calling for judicial reform. Over 500 protesters marched around Male’ with banners and placards displaying messages arguing the importance of judicial independence and of holding the judiciary accountable.

Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was originally taken into custody in January after blocking the Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) proceedings into his alleged misconduct. A police mutiny and unrest in the capital led to Nasheed’s resignation three weeks later.


28 thoughts on “Nasheed adds third British legal expert to defense team”

  1. “Article 2 (a) of the regulation states ‘a person has to either be a Maldivian citizen or be married to a Maldivian citizen and reside for most part in the Maldives’ in order to practice law in the Maldives,”

    This article alone shows what a farce the Maldives judicial system is. Everyone knows that this clause was designed specifically to enable Gayoom's son-in-law to practice law in the Maldives!

  2. its does not make any difference. It does not change the fact that Anni arrested the judge outside the constitutional rights and Anni will have to face the consequences .

    But Anni also have the right to defend his case and he has every right to get the legal advice from any lawyer he wish to .

    lets see how this trial goes .

  3. Another unsurprising addition given Kirsty's much-publicized Tory links.

    I think Mr. Burt has summed up the situation neatly.

    We were all witness to the actions of Nasheed's regimes. All that remains for a prosecution to prove is that he had ordered his subordinates to arrest and detain the Judge in violation of his human rights (perhaps Kirsty could elaborate here).

    I wonder whether there is anyone in the UK who actually buys Nasheed's new-found prolificism regarding his own trial. I mean c'mon. Doth Nasheed protest too much?

    He should however be allowed to mount a defense. Also, if his defense attorneys can get that pesky Hulhumale Magistrate Court dissolved then they would be doing the country a service. However one must note, that the judges presiding over Nasheed's case have no history with the HMC. They were brought in only for this trial.

    There is an age-old practice of roping in Magistrates for politically tricky trials or to deliver verdicts which other more high-profile judges refuse to get immersed in. However one of the magistrates, Mazeed, is relatively well-trained and better versed in the law than most.

  4. @ tsk tsk

    Mr Burts reply to Karen Lumley “We have sought and received assurances from President Waheed of the Maldives that any trial of former President Nasheed will be fair and free from political influence,” does not sit right with the stand Dr Waheed has taken on the matter.

    You may recall that Dr Waheed has said on many occasions, reiterated by Spokesman at the Office of the President Masood Imaadh that Dr Waheed will not interfere, intervene or involve himself in the matters of the judiciary.

    So what I want to know from Dr Waheed is just HOW he is going to ensure a fair trial for President Nasheed?

  5. @ tsk tsk

    My humble opinion on the matter is that it should be the members of the Judicial Services Commission not President Nasheed on trial for their failure to make a corrupt judge accountable. It should also be Judge Abdulla who should be on trial for his cynical exploitation of the justice system to protect his master Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

    No matter how you want to spin, tsk tsk, the fact of the matter is the gross violation of our right to justice and safety by Judge Abdulla is at the core of the misery and fear we have in the Maldives.

    By failing to contain this judge and making him accountable the JSC has committed a crime against the people.

  6. I'll leave the debate about equality before the law to another day. I'll also leave aside the case of glorious former leaders who helped themselves to the state treasury, (with the accompanying human rights violations of many a citizen) and who continue to receive state funds.

    Regarding President Nasheed, he has every right to bring in legal expertise from anywhere around the world. I see people making quite a fuss about Nasheed and the UK Conservative Party.

    If we are trying to associate foreign political party alliances with Maldivian officials, why not highlight the rather cosy relationship between certain Maldivian politicians (and their political parties) and the Chinese Communist Party?

    Given the choice of legal advice from those with links to the Chinese Communist Party or the Tories, I certainly know where my faith would lie!!!

  7. @tsk tsk.

    This ‘judge’ of yours is guilty of child abuse.

    Therefore, it is perfectly understandable if a Special Forces unit is dispatched to execute him.

    After all, a President has a duty to defend the people of the nation he leads from such ruthless criminals.

  8. During Dictator Gayoos time.
    All the laws and regulation was a revealed by Allah.
    He thinks still he was the last Prophet.

    Again one of the Gayooms BUG reads above What-a -Joke 1st Nov

    All the 30 years corrupted judges trained by Dictator Gayoom.

  9. @ tsk tsk: luckily, your personal view is always so egocentric, so unsubstantial, therefore it will be confined into the narrow frame of your conditioned mind.

  10. I only feel sorry for Madame Ilhaam.

    I only hope she would not become another Madame Hema Premadasa (widow of ex-Sri Lankan President Premadasa).

    I only wish she would not become another Madame Sonia Gandhi (widow of ex-Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi),

    I only wish she would not become another Jaqueline Kennedy (widow of ex-American President John F. Kennedy).

    I foresee a very very very very sorry sight for Madame Ilhaam Hussain IF ANNI CANNOT CONTEST IN THE ELECTION.

  11. tsk tsk @ Why is there no trial against Maumoon for importing guns to Maldives? Under which constitution is that legal? Why is there no trial for the Defence Minister of 1988 (Maumoon) not on trial for letting Tamil Tigers set foot in Maldives on November 3 1988 despite having had intelligence that the Tigers may attack in June 1988? Why is there no trial for the custodial death of Evan? Naseem? One can only know if there is no evidence only after these cases are tried in a court of law that respects the law.

  12. If the Judge was guilty of Child abuse, then Anni should have mentioned that reason to arrest him and defend himself.

    But Anni never mentioned why arrested and Anni had violated the law . So Anni need to face the trial and need to put behind the bar for his actions.

    Anni locked the supreme court to threaten the public and it was a breach of our constitution for which he need to be put behind the bar.

    Anni arrested Gasim , Yameed and other MPs to threaten them and public without any legal ground, for which Anni need to stay behind the bar for his illegal orders.

  13. @ Mody, I tend to agree with you generally this time. But do tell, how does anyone go about arresting the corrupt judge, Gasim, Yameen or anyone in the Maumoon team using "legal grounds" when the whole court system is controlled by Maumoon? If there was a efficient, effective and fair legal system and judiciary here, well then a judge like Ablo Ghazee would not even be a judge, and Maumoon and his family would not have been able to get away with robbing the country blind. So what "legal grounds" do you refer to.

  14. I see mody doesnt keep up with current events. Good, good.

    An enemy that is ignorant is easier to defeat than an enemy that's educated.

  15. Every one has forgotten Dr.Waheed was the vice president when Nasheed ordered the arrest of Judge Abdulla. The role of a vice president is just to sit on the chair and warm it? I still think the vice president should be put to trial with the president if this trial has to be fair.. How could Nasheed alone be put to trial while Waheed stays safe from everything?? This is becoming funny for the silent thinkers like me.

  16. Its just simple, no need of fat lawyers from abroad. Onlything Nasheed has to do is " My vice president ordered the arrest of Chief judge Abdulla" and wait and watch what follows.

  17. I seriously warn the lawyers of Nasheed to take in to consideration the role of a vice president in dealing with the case of Nasheed. Is a vice president selected only to claim chair when president is having a severe headache??????????

  18. Personally I'm glad that at long last there are indications that the rule of law has arrived in the Maldives. After this No future President will ever attempt to go the path of authoritarianism - acting the judge, jury and the executioner- all rolled into one; however intimidating and thuggish his party backers may be. President Nasheed deserves just as any other citizen a fair, transparent trial - however long it may take, and let him go through the full gamut of appeal that's available to him.

    It would serve us well to recall Sir McKinnons line of thinking as reported in MN

    “All the major players that have been talking to the Maldives recently are also saying go through your processes, but do not allow this to disenfranchise the former president,” McKinnon told ABC Radio.

    Asked whether he shared Nasheed’s concerns that he would not be tried fairly, “I think on this particular case [the judiciary] know very well that there’s more than just a few Maldivian people watching this trial.”

    “The international players are watching and I believe that the Maldivian judiciary will be very careful,” McKinnon said.

    “It certainly can be fair and it should be fair. These people know exactly what is expected of a judiciary, but there is a high level of political sensitivity in that country, there’s a tense atmosphere which does get more difficult from time to time. But there is still the possibility of having a fair trial, yes,” he said.

    Let's all witness the trial of ex President Nasheed along with all the international observers..

  19. @everyone:

    My personal view on this subject is very different from my academic view.

    To reply to Shafeea.

    Yes, politically we are looking at a tense situation. Pursuing both Qayyoom and Nasheed for past excesses is tricky given their respective support bases and the lack of public awareness about how the system should work in a democracy.

    As T has pointed out, it would be a bright day for the Maldives if we could actually hold at least one past leader accountable for his actions. Perhaps that accountability will leave him with the freedom to contest next year's Presidential elections. Realpolitik suggests that that would be the reasonable course to take.

    In a perfect world, Nasheed would be condemned from every quarter for his decision to use the military to arrest a person outside due process. However this is not the situation we are looking at. Some of us are struggling to stretch reason beyond its natural elastic limit just to defend those whom we support.

    Regardless of Nasheed's true intentions, which only he would know, we cannot and should not support arbitrary arrest and detention. After all isn't that what we all fought against during the run-up to the 2008 Constitution. Isn't that why Qayyoom was demonized during his rule? His supporters justify all the arrests he ordered as well. So much so that each and everyone of his tactics were sanctioned by the Parliament which in turn he controlled through political favors.

    Are we to return to that culture?

    I am not trying to reason with the average angry MDP activist. I am trying to speak to reasonable people whom I assume you all are. I wholeheartedly believe that we would be better off allowing Nasheed to contest the 2013 race. Whether that would legally and morally be the right thing to do is another question.

  20. Maryam,

    Anni had formed his own commission to investigate the corrupt deal of Maumoon and his family and am sure he would have enough time to get enough evidence to prove the guilty of those people.

    So I have the doubt that Anni might be protecting Gayyoom knowing what Anni had robbed during his three years in power.

    If not, he could have easily arrested them prosecuted them and if not in international court.

    Anni did not file any case against , Judge, Gasim, Yameen but what Anni did was just arrest them without having any legal ground. If Anni had any proof, then why did not he go through the judiciary system and prove the world that it is not functioning and then do the arrest . If Anni had done that, the people of Maldives and International community also would have better understanding and proof of this corrupt judiciary system in Maldives.

    Having a corrupt judiciary system does not warrant him to take the laws in his own hands.

  21. Hope Kisty does a good job. With golden hair and make up she looks good and adds some umph to the trial. The show needs a blond

  22. wow. There are more replies to tsk tsk's comments than to this article.

    Does this suggest that the level of article is subliminal to the degree that people prefer to read tsk tsk's comments than this article ? You decide.

  23. @anonymous
    You are right, its becoming more like some sort of messenger service like MSN 🙂 you too can chat here if you like.

  24. @tsk tsk

    So amusing to see that you think arbitrary arrest and detention are concepts unknown to President Nasheed. as if he had not experienced arbitrary arrest and detention in his life.

    Amusing too to see you think President Nasheed didnt know what was happening.

    You guys think you are so clever. Studied law with state resources and then bleed the state dry.

    Think big picture, my dear and perhaps the lines on your forhead will smooth out. Yes, dear, stop frowning, it makes you look old.

  25. @ tsk tsk

    I find it intersting that not once in your efforts to educate us have you explained to us WHY the JSC neglected to hold the judges who were making a mockery of the justice system accountable? Why have you not called for the resignation of the members of this institution that has brought disgrace to the maldives and betrayed the people of the Maldives?

    The JSC is the watchdog of the judiciary.And they did nothing as criminals, rapists, murderers, gangsters were set free by Judge Abdulla.

    How could a judge who has, according to DR Hassan Saeed ordered a child to demonstrate the sexual act performed by her sexual predator in court be ALLOWED to remain on the bench? According to Dr Hassan Saeed he sent a letter to His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom reporting this action and recommending his removal from the bench. And what did His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom do ? NOTHING.

    I would like to see the members of the JSC on trial for gross negligence of their duty to the people of the Maldives.


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