Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s terrorism trial “made a mockery” of the Maldives Constitution, and violated the country’s international human rights obligations, the UN special rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers has said.
In a damning statement issued on Thursday, Gabriela Knaul highlighted several irregularities in the opposition leader’s rushed trial, and said: “The speed of the proceedings combined with the lack of fairness in the procedures lead me to believe the outcome of the trial may have been pre-determined.”
Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail on March 13 after the Criminal Court found him guilty of “forcefully abducting” Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
The surprise trial began one day after Nasheed was arrested on February 22, and was completed in just 11 short hearings over 19 days.
“The series of due process violations that were reported to me since Mr. Nasheed’s arrest on 22 February is simply unacceptable in any democratic society,” Knaul said.
Warning of a “seriously deteriorating situation in the independence of the justice system,” the expert urged the Maldives to guarantee that Nasheed’s appeal would respect the most stringent fair trial and due processes.
The Maldivian authorities must allow the public, including international observers who were arbitrarily denied access to the Criminal Court, to attend appeal hearings, she said.
Nasheed’s lawyers, however, have already raised concern over alleged attempts by the Criminal Court to block the former president from launching an appeal.
With one week having passed since the verdict was issued, the Criminal Court failed to release any relevant trial documents until yesterday (March 19), which lawyers say are necessary for Nasheed to meet the ten day appeal deadline provided in new regulations enacted by the Supreme Court.
The Maldives’ decision to try Nasheed on terrorism, while his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has not had to answer for any of the serious human rights violations documented during his term is “troubling for a country whose constitution enshrines the independence and impartiality of the justice system as a prerequisite for democracy and the rule of law,” Knaul also said.
She urged the Maldives to consider the recommendations she had put forth in a 2013 report, including revising the composition of the judicial watchdog body the Judicial Services Commission, proper investigation of judges’ misconduct, enforcing the judges’ code of conduct and increasing the judiciary’s financial and human resources.
“The delicate issue of accountability for past human rights violations also needs to be addressed,” she noted at the time.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday raised similar concerns as Knaul over Nasheed’s trial, including the Criminal Court having denied Nasheed adequate time to prepare defence and a refusal to call defence witnesses.
The experts have also expressed concern over the Criminal Court’s decision not to wait until Nasheed sought new legal representation when his lawyers resigned half-way through the trial.
Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and two judges of the three-member bench providing witness statements during a 2012 investigation into Judge Abdulla’s arrest amounted to conflict of interest, both Knaul and Zeid have said
“Clearly no one should be above the law, and the trial of a former Head of State would be a major challenge for any government. But in a polarised context, and given the long-standing serious concerns about the independence and politicisation of the judiciary in the Maldives, this case should have been handled with much greater care and transparency,” Zeid said on Wednesday.
Related to this story:
UN human rights chief expresses strong concern over “hasty and apparently unfair” Nasheed trial
Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison
US, EU, and UK concerned over lack of due process in Nasheed trial
Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen
“This is not a court of law. This is injustice,” Nasheed tells the Criminal Court
Judge Abdulla suspected of involvement in “contract killing,” says Nasheed
A justice system in crisis: UN Special Rapporteur’s report
13 thoughts on “Nasheed’s terrorism trial “a mockery” of Constitution, verdict “may have been pre-determined,” says Knaul”
Knaul, You have been biased all the way from 2012 to date.
You have ignored the incidents that had unfolded during Nasheed era and you have ignored the illegal locking up supreme court by Nasheed , illegal arrest of Judge etc.
I call up on international community not be biased and express the concerns and treat everyone equally.
I call upon Knaul to stop creating hatred among people and advocate the rights of everyone and treat everyone equally .
Well, again, the justice system is demonstrating its own inadequacies. Nothing like a display of why these "concerns" were there in 2013 and before and the consequences of inaction.
The only people in denial re this woeful state of affairs seem to be the judges themselves - of course, and the puppets in government who parrot what the master says. All this claptrap about an impartial judicial system. Now, do we know who the master is?
Rotten judges, rotten government, hiding behind "democratic -sounding jargon". Is this then the customized democracy they keep going on about? Our very own style ..? Ridiculous, but its our reality.
That Anni(former President Nasheed) used civil forces to abduct and kept under their custody Ghazee Abdullah Mohamed during his tenure as President of Maldives is a known fact without denial by everyone in the Maldives . The judicial procedures were just a formality to officially establish the due punishment for the criminal for his act under Maldivian law. While everyone in the Maldives know this why is this huge hue and cry by the the UN, India and other busy bodies? Is it because Anni is yet to publish his "Alternative Narrative"? Is it just that the Maldives has to be part of India like Anni wanted? Come on UN and India and other busy bodies, where were you when our free thinking writers like old man Shafeeg were imprisioned? Anni is just an agent of India trying yet again to sell our beloved nation to India and the UK so that Maldivians will not have a proud identity of their own. Anni does not care about this nation. Only thing he does is trying to perform his duty as an agent of foreign influences in the Maldives period.
Hahhaa, be careful, whiteskin. You might give the so-called 'pious and poor' gangsters a fright.
Not that I'm complaining, though. Carry on.
Let's not also forget that the statements given by prosecution's witnesses were fabricated in the final hearing! Has the witness been allowed to file a case against that? What about a case against the MNDF for holding Nasheed against his will before the trial? By the same rule they applied, that is an act of terrorism too! Small difference though, Ablo Ghazee was corrupt, a perve and all Nasheed and his govt had done was arrest a corrupt and pervert judge who had cases against him for harassing children in sexual abuse cases and corruption charges if Im not mistaken, which obviously weren't getting seen to because the whole judiciary was controlled by Ablo Gazee as he was the top paid dog of the Maumoo gang. Maumoon, is responsible for unleashing Yamin on this country.
Has anyone checked Ablo Gazee's bank account or under his mattress lately?
If the current Govt has any courage at all, why don't you come out and say why you need Nasheed locked up and made an example of? Say the truth for a change. Its not terrorism, its not because he may or may not have smoked hash when he was young, its not even because he dances to traditional music, nor because he makes sense and makes you look bad. Its only because you want the old system back. How dare he, you think. But its a bit late now. Nasheed and friends' sedition has taken effect. The rebels are born. Rebels have multiplied. The change has already happened. There is no going back. Locking him away, wont help. It will only make things worse. Don't fight it. The system has been overthrown. It happened in the early 2000s. Lay down your useless egos. Go along, let the change complete. You see examples of countries in chaos all over the world, because so many of your kind are unwilling to accept that this is no longer a time where you pocket the people's money, build castles for your issues and throw your discards for the population to gnaw on. No longer. The revolution has happened. Don't fight it any longer. You see examples of countries all around the world where change and evolution continue.
This is not ancient Rome. Evolve!
And stop training the police and military! You train them to be on a battle field and expect them to just tend to traffic? Or let them go defend the innocent in an actual battlefield?! They are dying for a good fighting. there are more than enough real wars going on in the world who need trained men. Let those itching to blast a bomb or fire a gun go wild to protect the unarmed and oppressed somewhere out there.
The right thing of course, is to not involve defense authorities and the judiciary in politics you dirty bast****.
Mr. Yameen has now 'successfully' united his enemies and divided his allies by consolidating authority.
Ofourse its messy and dubious. But he has done it. Some one has to do the dirty job. Even Nasheed or President Qasim would have loved to do it if they can.
Maldivains forget that President was ousted because he tried to do things by the book. Of course, Nasheed is a good man by all measures. But being good did not help him... get it.
So everyone focuses on Nasheed what about the dictator before him -- who for 30 years did what he wanted when he wanted and in the process lined his pockets and those of this family to live a life that only a few in the entire world can dream of......
Such a shame for such a beautiful country!
Nasheed was not arrested by MNDF and he was arrested by police ?
People like you will write anything to twist the story to suit to the Anni requirement .
We know that "Jesuits has to come out to protect the Islam" according to Nasheed, the traitor of Maldives and Islam.
How on earth jesuits will protect Islam ? We are not fools and we know Nasheed is an agent of India . But will not allow Nasheed to fool us any longer .
Nasheed will never be able to take over this country ever.
Abdullah Mohamed of The Criminal Court, during the time when President Gayyoom was in power had the great opportunity to getting away with umpteen illegal and unjust things even if they were unjust or even illegal!
Abdullah Mohamed did seem to have an upper hand over many hierarchy's like some heroes here!
During President Nasheed's time in office, this same Abdullah Mohamed, in order to make the Ministry of Health answerable, he had released a murder suspect from custody, who eventually went and murdered another!
This however, in the eyes of some, do not seem questionable or even wrong!
Who is biased, and who twists what, some heroes know better!
Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing!
And no pot ever can understand when it calls the kettle, BLACK!
@ Sanfa, trying to protect Anni and to portray that he did not give orders to lockup Ghaazee Abdulla Mohammed is like calling the NIGHT as DAY. Anni didn't have even time take refuge in Indian High Commission this time
South East Asia's "Mandela" is in jail and you guys are doing nothing.
"Present government is a gang and Yameen is the Don (meaning: gang boss in Hindi films)." said by member of parliament Mahuloof. Journalists are abducted. Daylight killings are rampant: organised by this gang.
"A member of parliament was brutally killed and I saw Yameen talking with the accused killers" said by Yameen's Home Minister.
At a junction like this, there is only a minus 1 percent chance that "Mandela" would not be killed or hanged, depicting suicide.
Please help before it is late. Time is "Mandela"'s life.
Foreigners do not usually know that "Mandela" is jailed in a separate small island. I mean, jail is a separate small island. Police can do anything there.
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