Deputy leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer has expressed his confidence that the Prosecutor General’s (PG) investigation into charges against former President Mohamed Nasheed will see his imprisonment before the scheduled elections in July 2013.
“We will make sure that the Maldivian state does this. We will not let him go; the leader who unlawfully ordered the police and military to kidnap a judge and detain him for 22 days will be brought to justice,” local paper Haveeru reported Naseer as having said.
Naseer went on to say that, after the investigations of the police and the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM), the pressure was now on the PG.
“He is an independent person. I hope he will prosecute this case. He has said that he will. I have no doubt that he will,” Naseer said.
When Minivan News asked the Deputy PG Hussein Shameem if he felt politician’s comments about an ongoing investigation were appropriate, said: “I wouldn’t like to comment on that. If we start commenting on what politicians say, it will become too much.”
Naseer and his party’s spokesman Ahmed Mahlouf were not responding to calls at the time of press.
Shameem said that the cases against Nasheed, which include the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed and the police’s alleged discovery of alcohol at the former President’s residence, were “waiting for extra information.”
“We are not sitting on it,” Shameem hastened to add.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor dismissed Naseer’s comments.
“This is a man who has openly said he was a participant in this coup,” he said.
Naseer told Australian journalist Mark Davis in February that he had helped command the anti-government protesters as well as offering inducements to the police to mutiny.
Ghafoor was confident that the PG would not be swayed by Naseer’s comments.
“I do not believe the PG can be swayed – he has been independent and I do not think that he will notice such comments. Also, I do not believe that the office is only one person, it is an institution,” he said.
He did, however, express concerns about the capacity of the office.
“Because of the lack of decisions, we have reason to believe the PG has a limited capacity. It is extremely slow in coming to grips with the situation,” Ghafoor said.
In March, the PG General Ahmed Muizz told Minivan News that the completion of the Nasheed cases was being delayed whilst police reviewed certain aspects of the investigation.
After meeting with the PG, PPM MP Mohamed Waheed today told Haveeru that the majority of the delays in prosecuting cases were resulted from incomplete investigations.
During an interview with Minivan News in April, Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz spoke of the need for enhanced training within the service to avoid such problems.
“We are doing a lot of training on professional development; investigations to make sure that, rather than on the number of cases we investigate, we concentrate more on making sure that we have more successful prosecutions,” said Riyaz.
“We have seen in the past a lot of cases that have not been proven at the court of law. That is a big concern for me, so I am working very closely with the PG as well to make sure that our officers are trained professionally to investigate, to interview, trained to collect evidence, analyse it, submit reports and present it at the court of law, and make sure we have successful prosecutions,” he added.
The call for institution building has been heard most frequently from the current government, although calls for the reform of institutions such as the judiciary and the Majlis were a leitmotif of the Nasheed administration.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon told the BBC in April that early elections would not be possible before the state’s institutions were strengthened.
A few days prior to Dunya’s interview with the BBC, the United States pledged US$500,000 in technical assistance to Maldivian institutions in order to ensure free and fair elections.
Naseer’s comments on the role of the PG’s Office came on the same day that the MDP report on the events of February 7 was sent to both the reformed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) and the PG’s office.
Shameem said they had not yet studied the report but he was aware that it had been sent.
When asked if the PG’s Office would investigate the report’s findings now or wait for the CNI to deliberate, he replied: “I suppose we will have to wait for the CNI.”
Shameem added that the report would be of limited value to the office before that time.