Proceedings in the Majlis were brought to a premature conclusion for the second time in 10 days after pro-government parties proposed and passed a resolution assembling a temporary committee to investigate the alleged illegal actions of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The motion to form a seven man committee was passed before the session was halted after vehement protests from the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) parliamentary caucus.
MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor described the scene within the chamber: “The deputy speaker looked visibly shocked when the MDP started shouting ‘arrest the speaker, arrest the speaker’. Then they began to shout ‘arrest Gasim, arrest Gasim’”.
Ibrahim Gasim is the leader of the Jumhooree Party (JP), one of whose members, Abdulla Jabir, proposed yesterday’s resolution, according to Ghafoor.
Yesterday, MDP members were invited to sit on the proposed committee, with the local media reporting that they had refused the chance.
Ghafoor, however, claims that the PPM had intentionally selected MDP members who were absent from the Majlis.
The two cases against Nasheed, concerning the arrest of Chief Justice Abdullah Mohamed and the alleged discovery of alcohol containers at the former president’s residence are currently with the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office.
The Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameem said that a decision on these two cases was expected by the end of next week.
When asked if he felt the Majlis resolution would encroach on the work of the PG’s office, Shaheem replied: “The procedure is within the Majlis’ regulations – it would not be a criminal investigation. The findings would not come to us but will be for the Majlis.”
Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer told local media earlier this week that he was confident the PG would ensure Nasheed would be jailed before the next elections.
Later the same day, speaking before an audience in Washington DC, Nasheed commented that there was always somebody talking about putting him back behind bars.
Ghafoor stated his belief that Nasheed was keen to have his day in court to defend himself over the arrest of Abdulla Mohamed.
“Nasheed is intending to defend himself – he wants to. It will be a landmark case, “ said Ghafoor.
When asked about the utility of such an investigation alongside the work of the PG, Ghafoor suggested the proposition may have been for publicity purposes.
He suggested that pro-government parties may begin to target independent institutions such as the PG’s office, describing this as the “reverberations of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI)”, which he is confident will find the February transfer of power to have been illegal.
The January 16 arrest of the judge, who had been accused by the Home Minister of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”, raised the intensity of the protests against the Nasheed government
These protests culminated in a police mutiny on February 7 and the resignation of Nasheed.
The judicial crisis was sparked after Abdulla Mohamed filed a case in the Civil Court granting him an injunction halting further investigation by the Juducial Services Commission (JSC) into his alleged misdeeds.
This was followed by a High Court ruling against a police summons on January 16, which prompted police to request that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) take the judge into custody.
The crisis prompted the Foreign Ministry to request international assistance in reforming the judiciary.
The judge was released from detention immediately after Nasheed’s resignation and no
Local media reported that the Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim said that the party leaders will have to meet to discuss the failure to assign members to the committee.
At the time of press, spokesmen from the government aligned PPM and Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) were not responding to calls.
Similarly, Minivan News unable to illicit a response from Dr Ibrahim Didi, President of the JP, whom a JP spokesman had assured would be willing to comment on yesterday’s resolution.