Sacked Human Rights Minister Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has sent a letter to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain requesting that he investigate a Supreme Court judge, whom she alleged requested that she file a case against former President Mohamed Nasheed in a bid to prevent him from running for presidency in the 2013 presidential elections.
The former SAARC Secretary General’s claims follow the High Court’s rejection of a petition filed by her and a team of lawyers, requesting the court look into the legality behind the controversial transfer of power that took place in February 2012.
The High Court rejected the case on the grounds that it did not have jurisdiction to look into the matter. Saeed was later quoted in the media saying that she would file the case at the Supreme Court.
Speaking to local newspaper Haveeru on Monday, Saeed said that although her intention was to file the case at the Supreme Court, it was highly unlikely that justice would be served at the court.
This, she claimed, was due to the fact that her case had a strong connection with former President Nasheed’s alleged illegally obtained resignation, and that a judge on the Supreme Court bench had expressed to her that he had personal scores to settle with Nasheed.
According to Saeed, the said judge had personally instructed her on what cases she should file against the former President. Saeed alleged the instructions were given at a meeting held in the judge’s house at his request following Nasheed’s resignation.
Supreme Court Judge issues instructions to file cases should be filed against Nasheed
Among the suggestions allegedly given by the judge included filing a case concerning Nasheed’s decision to remove eight members appointed to parliament by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, prior to the ratification of the constitution.
In March 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the removal of the eight presidential appointees in late 2008 by incoming President Mohamed Nasheed – who replaced the eight with his own appointees – was unconstitutional and ordered the state to compensate the MPs for salaries and allowances due for the remainder of the last parliamentary session.
Following the ruling, the state was ordered to pay approximately MVR 500,000 (US$32,425) for each of the eight Gayoom appointed MPs, totalling up to MVR 4 million (US$ 311,284.05).
Another suggestion included refiling a case filed by Jumhoree Party (JP) Youth Wing Leader Moosa Anwar in 2008 against Nasheed. This case claimed that Nasheed was convicted and sentenced for theft – a ‘Hadd’ offence under Sharia’ law – in similar bid to bar his candidacy in 2008 Presidential elections.
However, the Supreme Court on October 2008 declared that Nasheed was eligible to contest the election and that Nasheed was not sentenced on a Hadd offence.
Saeed declined to reveal the name of the judge but said he was “involved” in the Supreme Court’s decision to declare the legitimacy of the controversially-formed Hulhumale Magistrate Court.
In December 2012, the Supreme Court declared that the Hulhumale Magistrate Court – created by the Judicial Services Commission – was legitimate and could operate as a court of law.
The court’s legitimacy was declared by a majority of four out of the seven member Supreme Court bench.
Judges Abdulla Saeed, Ali Hameed Abdulla, Adam Mohamed Abdulla and Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi voted in favour of the court’s legitimacy, while Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, Judge Abdulla Areef and Judge Mu’uthazim Adnan had dissenting views. Judge Adam Mohamed – also president of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), responsible for creating the court and appointing the judges in the Nasheed trial – cast the deciding vote.
Saeed on Monday claimed she was yet to receive response from the Chief Justice regarding the complaint.
“I have no knowledge as to whether that case is either considered or whether it is being looked into,” she said.
Saeed claimed that the specific judge must refrain from hearing any case linking with former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation and transfer of power in 2012, including the case she intends to file at the court.
“Judges should refrain from personal interests and bias; his rulings should be impartial. So, when a judge specifically speaks of preventing a specific person from getting elected to president, that means that he is biased,” Saeed said. “That is grossly inconsistent with the principles of justice.”
Speaking to local TV station Raajje TV on Monday evening, Saeed claimed that she only decided to talk about the matter after what happened with the case concerning the legitimacy of Hulhumale Magistrate Court.
“After realising how unfair it is for a judge like that to sit in the bench and decide the case regarding Hulhumale Magistrate Court, which is so closely related to Nasheed’s trial, I decided to speak out in public. Otherwise, I would have taken this to grave, and never mention it,” Saeed told the local TV station.
The judge who wanted to settle scores with me should be found and removed: President Nasheed
Following Saeed’s allegations, former President Mohamed Nasheed said that Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should find the judge which Saeed was speaking of, and remove him from the Supreme Court bench.
During a campaign rally held at Henveiru ward of Male City, Nasheed said that it was pointless for Chief Justice to talk of the judiciary while having knowledge of such discrepancies within the courts.
“The [Chief Justice] must look into this. A judge sitting in his court room is asking a lawyer to file a case against a President. When he is given a letter regarding such discrepancy, he should look into it. It is important that the JSC find who this judge is and dismiss him. He is not fit to be a judge,” Nasheed said.
Nasheed further said that Maldivian laws do not allow biased judges to sit in courts, and repeated his call for judicial reform.
“Neither the law nor the public wants a judge who often picks sides, distances himself and deliberately disregards the rules of justice in settling matters to remain as a judge in the court room,” he said.
The “noble Jihad”
However, on Sunday both Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and JSC President Adam Mohamed both claimed that “nobody can meddle with the Supreme Court”.
Both the Supreme Court judges contended that nobody could change the Supreme Court bench or remove a Supreme Court judge unless the position became vacant as per the law.
“By the will of Allah, the Supreme Court bench will prevail as long as the Maldives remains a democracy. The bench cannot be changed. A change to the Supreme Court bench can only be brought if a judge’s position becomes vacant,” Justice Faiz said at the time.
Meanwhile Adam Mohamed also called on state institutions to refrain from interfering with the work done by the courts or do anything that could “impact the fairness and impartiality” of the JSC.
“I call upon you not to forget the fact that you are carrying out a very noble jihad in the name of Allah in delivering justice to the people,” he told the judges.