Parliament privileges committee seeks Majlis intervention in MP Hamid appeal case

The Majlis Parliamentary Privileges Committee has unanimously decided parliament should intervene in the appeal case of member Hamed Abdul Ghafoor, who was sentenced to six months for failure to attend Criminal Court hearings.

“The committee was of the opinion that the Criminal Court had acted outside of the boundaries of the law by summoning MP Hamid to court on a day when the parliament as well as committee sittings were scheduled,” said Deputy Chair of the Committee and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy.

“Therefore this action by Criminal Court was clearly against the Privileges Act, thus a violation of privileges of both an MP and the parliament as a whole. On this grounds the committee has sent the report to Majlis Speaker to which the Speaker.”

Hamed was handed the custodial sentence during a month-long period of refuge sought within the grounds of parliament, which ended following the conclusion of the presidential election on November 16.

Hamed was originally asked to appear in court regarding an alleged refusal to produce a urine sample when asked by police following his arrest on suspicion of drug and alcohol possession last year.

He was arrested on the island of Hondaidhoo along with a number of senior MDP party members last year.

The MP himself, however, maintains that his stay in the parliamentary grounds was intended to highlight the importance of MP privileges.

“My holding up in the Majlis was in defense of parliamentary privileges, which was not reported in the media. We have found out members privileges are not understood,” Hamed told Minivan News today.

The Henveiru South representative suggested that Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed scheduled a hearing to clash with the parliamentary schedule as the case against him was failing.

He has subsequently been placed under house arrest, with the newly appointed Home Minister Umar Naseer telling local media that the state did not have the resources to transport the MP to and from Dhoonidhoo island prison in order for him to fulfil his parliamentary duties.

During his period of sanctuary, Hamed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) amended the parliament’s standing orders to allow an MP convicted of criminal acts to continue to attend Majlis sittings.

Hamed, as well as the Speaker of the House Abdulla Shahid, have consistently maintained that the summons to appear clashed with the MP’s parliamentary duties, contravening the Parliamentary Privileges Act.

“He has been issued court summons in violation of the Privileges Act. He has been issued a sentence because he took the privileges he is legally afforded as an MP,” Shahid told Minivan News earlier this month.

“I have written about this matter to the Prosecutor General [PG]. The Prosecutor General agrees with me. He has written a letter to the Supreme Court. He feels that the judiciary in this case has gone out of its way to punish Hamid.”

The PG Ahmed Muiz has since resigned as the Majlis prepared no-confidence proceedings against him – the President’s Office is currently accepting applications for his replacement.


5 thoughts on “Parliament privileges committee seeks Majlis intervention in MP Hamid appeal case”

  1. Hamid should rethink his stand on the issue. He should try and talk to the public about government intimidation of MPs during crucial votes and debates.

    However he cannot marshall much support of he keeps referring to Parliamentary privileges. Although the Parliamentary Privileges Act afforded Maldivian MPs the protections mentioned by Hamid before today's Supreme Court ruling, those protections were controvesial from the get-go and had little public support.

    Throw in the fact that freedom from arrest and criminal prosecution during Parliament time is not a privilege enjoyed in civilized democracies and any sane PR person within MDP should figure out that this fiasco cannot be easily justified to the neutral public. Best to negotiate with government on this issue and keep it as silent as possible. Also, Hamid does not enjoy much support among the people any longer because he had become estranged from the public during his time as an MP.

    Minivan, would also like to point out that there inconsistencies in spelling and also an abrupt end to a quote above. Please also re-read some of the sentences which are a bit confusing in some areas. Your writing is generally so good and I hate to nitpick. Hope you'll take my criticism in good spirit.

  2. The issues of Members Privileges Hamid raise is that the Criminal Court should schedule hearings to not coincide with voting time and Parliament time as a rule, recently written into law as in all similar jurisdictions as a matter of principle.

    Some of course do sweepingly refute this fact.

    Today's Supreme Court verdict to revoke Members Privileges is pure lunacy and one must note the SC chronology of these bizarre verdicts finally noticed by the UN. Let us see where this lead us? Burma, Iran, Pakistan? Any ideas?

  3. @Yippee

    I hope at long last this will lead to rule of Law in Maldives. Obviously the Parliment with its so called priviledges was on a slow decent towards being a den of thieves who went so far as to change laws to shelter convicts.

    As Tsk pointed out no democracy of any repute had parlimentary priviledges as seen in Maldives offering a gateway and means to hide from justice. Can you imagine fellons day in court deffered to sit and vote. Even in India finally Criminals after being convicted lost their chance to vote in Parliment.

  4. How valuable is Hamid Abdul Bafoon to the MDP ? Surely the think tank will acknowledge the damage he did to their campaign recently, but is it a wise policy to persist using his as a means to fight the corrupted court systems ? Cmon MDP ! It's time to evolve tactics and come up with something which all citizens can empathize with and rally behind. Hamid is no Rose Parks !


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