The Supreme Court of the Maldives has concluded the hearing of Jumhoory Party (JP) leader and MP Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim’s appeal to the High Court’s ruling that his house arrest be extended.
On July 3 the High Court, in response to an appeal filed by police concerning Gasim and People’s Alliance party leader MP Yameen Abdul Gayoom, extended their house arrest to 15 days.
The Criminal Court had earlier ruled their house arrest was to be for three days.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed was the Chief Judge at today’s hearing at the Supreme Court. Gasim’s legal team included former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor, Leader of Dhivehi Qaumy Party and former Attorney General Dr Hassan Saeed and former Justice Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel.
Senior Assistant Public Prosecutor Dheebaanaz Fahmy, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Police Inspector Ahmed Jinah were among the eight members of the police legal team.
When judge asked police who reported the case, police Inspector Ahmed Jinah replied “the president’s office.”
Shukoor said that Gasim was misled and arrested illegally in an abuse of his rights, and that therefore extension of detention would also be unlawful.
“The Criminal Court judge ruled that to keep him under house arrest for three days and that police violated many articles of the consitution,” Shukoor claimed.
“As the case has now come this far, the police have not even once denied that they abused the right on arrest given under article 48(b),” Shukoor said. “Gasim Ibrahim was taken to the police station to clarify something and then police arrested him.”
Police in their defence said that they had the power to investigate crime, conserve evidence and prepare cases for disposition by the court under article 244(C) of the constitution.
“And under circumstances police can arrest someone without a court warrant,” said the lawyer. “Police have the right to arrest someone if the arresting officer observes the offence being committed, or has reasonable and probable grounds or evidence to believe the person has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence.”
He claimed that the constitution did not preclude police from arresting a MP who is charged on a criminal offence.
“If Gasim Ibrahim was under house arrest and could attend parliament it could potentially disrupt the evidence,” he said. “We request the Chief of Justice to transfer Gasim from house arrest to police custody.”
Chief of Justice Abdulla Saeed queried the lawyer as to the seriousness of the case.
“Gasim is accused of bribery, and we need time to investigate the case in order prove it,” the police lawyer answered. “He is also accused of treason, and that affects the whole of society.”
When judge queried whether the lawyer was concerned that Gasim might flee, and he replied that it was “difficult to say.”
Meanwhile, Dr Hassan Saeed presented a list of unanswered questions by the police, and police requested the judge to give them time to research the case.
Saeed also observed that the criminal court judge had ruled that police violated many articles of the constitution in arresting Gasim.