PG files charges against former President Nasheed over Judge Abdulla’s detention

Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz has filed charges against former President Mohamed Nasheed and the former defense minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu for their alleged role in detaining Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed in January.

Abdulla Mohamed was a central figure in the downfall of former President Nasheed, following the military’s detention of the judge after the government accused him of political bias, obstructing police, stalling cases, links with organised crime and “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist” to protect key figures of the former dictatorship from human rights and corruption cases.

Nasheed and Tholhath stand charged with violating Article 81 of the Penal Code, which states that the detention of a government employee who has not been found guilty of a crime is illegal. If found guilty, Nasheed and Tholhath will face a jail sentence or banishment for three years or a Rf 3000 fine (US$193.5).

The case was filed at the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court. In a statement today, Muizz said he intends to levy the same charges against former Chief of Defense Forces Moosa Ali Jaleel, Brigadier- General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad.

Home Minister Mohamed Jameel in a post on social media Twitter has said the “historic criminal trial” is the “first step towards the national healing process.”

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News the president will not “interfere with the independent Prosecutor General’s decisions.”

In April, Nasheed told the UK’s Guardian that he did not like arresting a judge, but he “just couldn’t let him [Abdulla Mohamed] sit on the bench.”

“There is a huge lack of confidence in the judiciary, and I had to do something and the constitution calls upon me to do that. It’s not a nice thing to do. And it’s not a thing that I would want to do. And it’s not a thing that I liked doing. But it had to be done,” he added.

Judge arrest

The chief judge was detained by the military, after he had opened the court outside normal hours, to order the immediate release of current Home Minister and deputy leader of the Dhivehi Quamee Party Jameel who was arrested after President’s Office requested an investigation into “slanderous” allegations he made that the government was working under the influence of “Jews and Christian priests” to weaken Islam in the Maldives. The judge’s whereabouts were not revealed until January 18.

As Judge Abdulla continued to be held, Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz later joined the High Court and Supreme Court in condemning the MNDF’s role in the arrest, requesting that the judge be released.

The police are required to go through the PG’s Office to obtain an arrest warrant from the High Court, Muizz said, claiming the MNDF and Nasheed’s administration “haven’t followed the procedures, and the authorities are in breach of law. They could be charged with contempt of the courts.” He then ordered the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) to investigate the matter.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked three weeks of anti-government protests starting in January, while the government appealed for assistance from the Commonwealth and UN to reform the judiciary.

As protests escalated, elements of the police and military mutinied on February 7, alleging Nasheed’s orders to arrest the judge were unlawful. A Commonwealth legal delegation had landed in the capital only days earlier.

Nasheed publicly resigned the same day, but later said he was forced to do so “under duress” in a coup d’état. Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has taken to the streets in recent months calling for an early election.

Judge Abdulla was released on the evening of February 7, and the Criminal Court swiftly issued a warrant for Nasheed’s arrest. Police did not act on the warrant, after international concern quickly mounted.

“Father- figure”

Former President’s member on the JSC and whistleblower Aishath Velezinee for several years contended that Abdulla Mohamed was a central, controlling “father figure” in the lower courts, answerable to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and a key figure responsible for scuttling the independence of the judiciary under the new constitution.

“When Abdulla Mohamed [was arrested by Nasheed’s government] I believe the opposition feared they were losing control over the judiciary, and that is why they came out on the streets. If you look at the so called public protests, it was opposition leaders and gang members. We did not see the so-called public joining them – they were a public nuisance really,” Velezinee observed, in an interview with Minivan News.

“For nearly three weeks they were going around destroying public property and creating disturbances. It wasn’t a people thing – we can say that. We locals – we know who was there on the streets. There is footage and evidence available of it. We’ve seen the destruction they were causing in Male’ every day.”

Following the arrest of the judge, Nasheed’s government appealed to the international community – in particular the Commonwealth, the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) and the UN – for assistance in resolving the spiraling judicial crisis. A Commonwealth team arrived in the Maldives the day before Nasheed’s government was overthrown after a group of police sided with opposition demonstrators, attacking the military headquarters and seizing control of the state broadcaster.

Velezinee bemoaned the local and international focus on the arrest of the judge rather than the decline of the institution that led Nasheed’s government to such desperate interference in the judiciary.

“To the international community [the protesters] were a crowd of people – and to them that’s the public. It’s a public protest to them. But it was not. We need to consider who was involved in the free Abdulla Mohamed campaign. These are the same people I have previously accused of covering up and being conspirators in the silent coup,” Velezinee told Minivan News.

Charges against Judge Abdulla

The first complaints against Abdulla Mohamed were filed in July 2005 by then Attorney General Dr Hassan Saeed – now Dr Waheed’s political advisor – and included allegations of misogyny, sexual deviancy, and throwing out an assault case despite the confession of the accused.

Among the allegations in Dr Saeed’s letter was one that Judge Abdulla had requested an underage victim of sexual abuse reenact her abuse for the court, in the presence of the perpetrator.

In 2009, those documents were sent to the oversight body JSC, which was requested to launch an investigation into the outstanding complaints as well as alleged obstruction of “high-profile corruption investigations”.

The JSC decided not to proceed with the investigation on July 30, 2009. However in November 2012, the JSC completed an investigation into a complaint of ethical misconduct against the judge.

The report, which the commission has not yet publicly released, recommended action against Judge Abdulla for allegedly violating the Judge’s Code of Conduct by making a politically biased statement in an interview with DhiTV.

Abdulla then filed a case against the JSC in the Civil Court requesting that it invalidate the JSC’s report, claiming that DhiTV took his statement out of context. He also asked for and was granted a Civil Court injunction to halt any action by the judicial watchdog.

The commission appealed the verdict at the High Court, claiming that the Civil Court had disregarded the commission’s constitutional mandate which allowed it to take action against judges, and argued that the court did not have the jurisdiction to overrule a decision of its own watchdog body. However, the appeal was rejected in April.

Abdulla’s case against the JSC continues. Civil Court Judge Maryiam Nihayath in May ordered the commission to submit all documents relating to Abdulla’s ethical misconduct.

HRCM investigation

Nasheed became the first president to be summoned before the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) when he was asked to testify regarding his role in the arrest of Judge Abdulla in April. Nasheed used his testimony to claim that he had been informed at the time by the Home Ministry that the judge allegedly posed a “national threat” – prompting his eventual detention.

The former president additionally claimed that the Home Ministry had communicated with the Defence Ministry on the situation, which in turn led to the decision to arrest the judge after watchdog bodies like the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had raised alleged concerns over his ethical conduct.

“I was told Abdulla Mohamed would not comply with the police’s summons to investigate allegations [against him],” Nasheed later stated at a press conference following the meeting with the HRCM.

“The Home Minister wrote to the Defense Minister that Abdulla Mohamed’s presence in the courts was a threat to national security. And to take necessary steps. And that step, the isolation of Abdulla Mohamed, was what the [Defense] Ministry deemed necessary.”

second case involving Nasheed has also been sent to the prosecutor general by the police that involved the confiscation of bottles of alcohol allegedly found at his residence shortly after his presidency ended.


16 thoughts on “PG files charges against former President Nasheed over Judge Abdulla’s detention”

  1. Maldivian police force is a joke; it has earned a reputation of Tom & jerry play. Demonstrators vs. ninja force. Good show for lazy bunch of Maldivian people who otherwise sit back roam around aimlessly. Free show displayed by the rowdy force with baton and pepper spray. The bully type young stars enjoy every night from this moronic show by teasing them. A guy pulls the rubber barricade and the monkey force run behind them kicking, spraying and pulling people collars. On other side a guy calls himself president, a president of whom, nobody knows, praise this idiotic force for their bravery what they excel in kicking, hitting those who come on the street to enjoy this show. This brave force, one day will display some empty wine bottles, and on the other day some condoms to prosecute their bitterly elected ex boss by maldivian to replace the beloved dictator of this force who nurtured them and fashioned them. The brave force will leave no stone unturned to prosecute this president who started his career on the street teasing and degrading the ninja force. Now the game has take another course, to prosecute the president elected from the street and removed on the street using the same bait psychopathic judge Abulla who helped the moronic force to get rid of their archenemy . A good piece of joke for a comedy show

  2. The judge is a key ingredient to the coup plannng. He is also there illegally as he is not qualified. The constitution is inadequate and so is this wicked judge.

  3. Putting this mad man behind bars is not going to solve any problem, someone needs to take him out..........

  4. The current coup government is such a same to Maldives, the so called sunny side of life. An illegally appointed chief judge who releases drug lords and enjoy underage girls to reenact their rape ordeal in court rooms is still issuing verdicts in courtrooms while president Nasheed who opposed such practices and tried to investigate his criminal behavior is put on the docks. This is the extent of justice in this country. Islamists, rogue businessmen and mafia has joined hand to create mayhem for their personal gains.

    Potential investors and tourists please do no visit Maldives until a democratically elected government is in place to run the government. Tourists and investors won’t get any justice in case they been ripped off, robbed or assaulted by criminals who roam freely in this mafia state. Just a month ago a bloggers throat was slit with a box cutter by islamists.

    DO NOT finance this with your money to create anti-western Taliban Islamist state.

  5. Naheed's aquittal is unlikely and his detention will guarantee the victory in the next Presidential elections for MDP. His comeback is likely to be much more glorious. Nasheed is too magnaminous. He should be firm with political mischief makers who blatantly obstruct development using different pretexts taking cover in the misuse of legal provisions and parliamentary majority of the opposition while he was the President.

    members of the current alliance should realize that MDP's government was best interest of them as well, including the rest of the country and common good lies in the policies of Nasheed and manifesto of MDP. Just compare this with an open mind. Such election pledges and making good on such pledges have all along been so alien to the maldivian polity, rather unimaginable. Wake up Maldivians, rise rise and rise to give peace a chance in the maldives. Together we cleanse this country of dirty and dishonest and sleazy politics.

  6. You so called " democratically elected president " Nasheed was a dictator and was not a president. He had breached our constitution many time during his three years in power and he acted himself above the law.

    He never was a present for all but for the MDP only. What democracy you are talking about ? We do not want this dictator back again but i will respect him if ever comes back as an elected leader.

  7. When the President says he will not interfere with the independent prosecutor general it suggests that he can interfere if he wants.
    But the truth is the Constitution does not give any role for the President in matters of prosecution. Either to prosecute or not.
    So President Waheed, know your powers.

  8. There is one misstatement here that may amount to defamation:

    The writer of this article Zaheena Rasheed and by extension Minivannews claims Justice Abdulla Mohamed had held a court hearing outside normal hours in the remand hearing in relation to the Nasheed-regime's arrest of a political opponent.

    This is false as remand hearings in the Maldives are usually held in the late hours of the evening therefore Justice Abdulla's actions in that case were not outside normal practice.

    There is also one piece of false information in this article that may amount to defamation;

    Zaheena Rasheed and Minivannews reports that Abdulla Mohamed had been accused by a former Attorney General of asking an underage sexual abuse victim to reenact the abuse carried out on her in front of her perpetrator.

    This is false and misquoted from the original document in which this information is cited from. In reality the then-AG had expressed disapproval over Justice Abdulla Mohamed's decision to require two underage witnesses submitted by police in a sexual abuse case to show by way of mime (with hand signals) the meaning of a word used for a sexual act by the underage witnesses. This is far removed from the outrageous claim made by the writer of this article and Minivannews.

    There is also a typo here that amounts to plain carelessness and shoddy editing;

    "ethical Abdulla's misconduct" which I believe should be "Abdulla's ethical misconduct".

  9. Nasheed's government was a failure, messed up everything.
    We elected him with high hopes of making the country better, but alas, he made it worse. Corruption became endemic, and members of his party and relatives committed corruption openly. That's why public got fed up with his government so soon. He created all that led to his resignation and when he realized there's no support for him, it was his own decision to resign. It is surprising when a president realizes that he resigned due to a coup nearly after 24hours of resignation!!

  10. prosecutor general grand mother is the aunt of dictator gayyoom.Not surprised!

  11. @underwear "aunt of dictator gayoom" huh, many people and their families thrived with richness under gayooms rule. The master servents get Good jobs, good resorts, good bank loans, good wine and liquor, paid medical/holiday/shopping trips to sigapore, india and lanka. So it would be a hard thing to give up their habitual servitude. While the hopeful servants chant the gayoom mantra in anticipation of achieving master servent status.

    chech background of tsk tsk you find similar relationship of servitude

  12. This is very stupid. Look, Nasheed is not gonna get prosecuted for arresting this uneducated judge. Yet another propaganda technique trying to make people look towards Nasheed in a different way. They will try their best to keep this arrest in people's mind as long as possible making people hate him and making sure that they are not gonna forget about that arrest. But will people forget the coup ?

  13. @ mois

    Looks like you have studied the President nasheed's administration very closely. Do you have notes to share about the administration of Gayoom?

  14. he released a suspected mrderer onthe streets on our own eyesand no one candeny it. The next day the perpetrator murderered another young Maldivian! This judge was politically motivated and gave this verdict to make Health minister responsible for a death report of murdered victim which infact has to be given by hospital. Thus he is the devils advocate who should face justice!. Why no one cares about the rights of the victim and his family who faced a tragedy coz of the release of a murdere suspect!WHere was their rights! If HRCM and others think rights are for some people in society especially judges, what about the commoners like us

  15. ONE SINGLE THING says all about this "judge": made TWO KIDS to reenact - the sexual abuse done to them - in front of his court AND the defendant.
    This is INSANE, against any religion, but more important than that : against any humanity.
    Take out !


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