PG withdraws disobedience to order charges against home minister

Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin has withdrawn disobedience to order charges against Home Minister Umar Naseer.

Muhsin had raised charges against Naseer in April for violating Article 8 (a) of the General Laws Act of 1968 when he called on anti-government protesters in January 2012 to storm the military headquarters with 50 ladders.

The clause prohibits speech or writing contravening Islamic tenets.

If found guilty, Naseer would have faced imprisonment, banishment, or house arrest not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding MVR150 (US$10).

PG Office Spokesperson Adam Arif said charges had been withdrawn in August for further review, and stressed that the PG is authorised to withdraw charges at any point until a sentence is issued. The moves comes after concluding statements had been delivered at the Criminal Court.

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said the move “is yet another act by a PG backed by the government to deliberately show the people that the government enjoys complete impunity.”

The decision appears to reflect a thawing of a tense relationship between Naseer and President Abdulla Yameen.

Naseer was summoned to court during the acrimonious dissolution of a coalition agreement between Naseer’s Jumhooree Party (JP) and the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

Four ministers had been appointed to the cabinet on JP slots, but following the split two defected and a further minister was dismissed. Naseer now remains as the sole JP minister in the cabinet.

Naseer initially joined the JP after he lost the PPM primaries to Yameen in 2013. Following this defeat, he publicly alleged widespread vote rigging and accused Yameen of illicit connections with gangs and the illegal drug trade.

Naseer also implicated Yameen in MP Dr Afrasheem Ali’s death, claiming he had witnessed a meeting between Yameen and an individual who was under investigation for Afrasheem’s brutal death.

Naseer has since retracted his statement under oath during a Majlis sitting.

In August, Yameen also reduced the home minister’s powers after Naseer allegedly ordered police officers to investigate Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb – the PPM deputy leader – for alleged unlawful activities.

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed took over the case mid-way through the trial from Judge Abdulla Didi, after Naseer requested a change of judge folowing Didi’s refusal to accept a procedural point raised by Naseer.

Didi, on June 12, had issued an arrest warrant ordering the police to present Naseer at court today after he had missed three consecutive hearings due to official visits abroad.

The police, however, made no move to arrest the minister on his return to the Maldives, and Naseer arrived at the court on June 17 with a bodyguard escort.

Naseer had initially refused to cooperate with the trial, claiming clause Article 8 (a) contradicted the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.

Related to this story

Home Minister Umar Naseer’s trial concludes at Criminal Court

Home Minister refuses to cooperate with disobedience trial

President Yameen does not have gang affiliations, Umar tells the Majlis

Umar Naseer is not a fugitive from justice, says Home Ministry


One thought on “PG withdraws disobedience to order charges against home minister”

  1. If what is in this article is true, I fear for the future of Maldives in the near immediate future.

    PG withdrawing his case against Umar Naseer, as he is reported to have done, is not something that a PG will do in a Western democracy.Maldivian PG is fickle and even up for sale. He is easily moved by political winds. He does not have the character that is required of a PG.

    Home Ministry is one of the key ministries in any government in any country.Maldives deserves a better Home Minister than Umar Naseer. The fact that he is there as Home Minister is a loud statement from the Maldivian government about their philosophy or lack of it.

    Umar Nasser can change judges. He can obey or disobey the judiciary at will. He can change the mind of an important individual like PG. He is a unique person: a law to himself.

    I do not admire Maldives. Not at all.


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