President Mohamed Nasheed criticised the judiciary during a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally at the artificial beach.
“When there’s Rf5 million in a bag underneath the bed and the judge doesn’t think it raises any kind of doubt, I wonder how they perform their duties as a judge,” said the president at the rally on Sunday.
He added that the government would not back down and will continue to arrest other drug dealers.
Following the rally, the MDP called for those concerned to “raise their voices against a justice system that is repeatedly careless about these acts.”
The criticism of both the president and his party follows the Criminal Court’s decision to acquit Adam Naseer of H. Reendhooge earlier this week. The government had previously alleged that Naseer was one of the country’s six major drug lords.
Naseer was arrested last July after police searched his house in Addu Atoll and found over Rf5 million in cash, as well as some drugs found outside his property.
This week, Criminal Court Judge Abdul Baary Yousuf found Naseer not guilty of dealing drugs due to lack of evidence.
President Nasheed said MDP was pledged to combat drug trafficking and abuse as there was “not one family untouched by the heroin endemic.”
Also speaking at the rally, MDP chairperson and MP Mariya Ahmed Didi called on everyone who protested against the proposed liquor licenses to demand the enforcement of the drug laws.
“Come out and call for the enforcement of the law on illegal drugs,” she said, asking for the support of the coalition of NGOs and the Adhaalath party, which brought thousands of people to the tsunami monument on Friday.
Mariya claimed the judiciary was not cooperating with the government in sentencing drug dealers.
According to the MDP statement, “one of the most important pledges of the MDP government is that of tackling the problem of drug abuse.”
The party mentioned the Naseer case, saying it “finds it worrying that the justice system is opening doors for these criminals to escape” and “we call upon the Prosecutor General to take this matter to the Supreme Court and work to achieve a speedy and just outcome to this matter.”
Naseer’s case has sparked controversy because he has previously been arrested and acquitted on drug dealing charges. He was also included in President Nasheed’s ‘top six’ list of drug dealers. Police investigated him for months before placing him under arrest in July 2009.
The MDP’s press statement claimed that “despite the forensic evidence found by the hard work of police, the justice system rules against the evidence and is careless in implementing justice.”
Police Spokesperson Abdul Moosa said “in every case we submit evidence at hand when the investigation is over.”
He did not specify what evidence was submitted for Naseer’s case or if it was admissible in court.
The PG’s office has said it will be appealing the case to the High Court, but did not respond to Minivan News today.
The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) had not made a comment at time of publication.
President Nasheed said yesterday in his Presidential Address to the People’s Majlis that in 2009 “there was an increase of 41.4 per cent in the number of people arrested for drug abuse, when compared with 2008 figures.”
The president did not mention if the number of convictions had also risen.