Supreme Court reprimands Ibra for criticising judiciary

The Supreme Court has reprimanded President’s Advisor Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail for reportedly calling on the public to “rise up and sort out the judges” at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally Friday night in Kaafu Thulusdhoo.

A press statement issued by the Supreme Court yesterday claimed that Ibra’s remarks “encouraging the illegal curtailment of the tasks of the judiciary” could lead to “the loss of peace and security of the Maldivian state and plunge the nation into chaos and unrest”.

While article 299(a) of the constitution demands “obedience to the constitution” and compliance with all its provisions, the statement noted, article 144(c) states that, “No officials performing public functions, or any other persons, shall interfere with and influence the functions of the courts.”

Moreover, article 144(d) states that, “Persons or bodies performing public functions, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, eminence, dignity, impartiality, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts.”

The Supreme Court asserted that “making such statements in a free, democratic society under lawful governance goes against the principles of civilisation” and “the constitution of the Republic of the Maldives does not allow any such illegal activity”.

The court’s statement concluded by assuring the public that the highest court of appeal “as the parent of the constitution and laws of the country” would not tolerate “any action that could undermine established democratic institutions and the rights of the Maldivian state and the Maldivian people.”

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – oversight body for the judiciary – meanwhile conducted an “emergency meeting” Sunday night prompted by Ibra’s remarks and decided to request “relevant authorities” to carry out an official investigation.

Ibra’s remarks came after the Criminal Court barred journalists from observing the corruption trial of Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim on August 25.

“Judges are issuing verdicts any way they please. The effort we have to make against this is not inconsiderable. It was citizens who came out and ousted Maumoon from power. The matter of judges too can only be sorted out by citizens rising up,” Ibra, former Male’ MP and first elected president of MDP, was quoted as saying in newspaper Haveeru.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ibra argued that criticism of the judiciary did not constitute a criminal offence or could be considered unlawful.

Responding to the Supreme Court claim that his remarks could “plunge the nation into chaos and unrest”, Ibra noted that ensuring law and order was “out of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.”

“Before making such serious allegations against a person they should at least attempt to find out the truth or see if any law was violated,” he said. “It is like the Supreme Court believes they are above the law or a law unto themselves.”

Ibra, who also served as chairman of the drafting committee of the Special Majlis – the special assembly convened to revise the constitution in 2004 – noted that according to article 16 of the constitution fundamental rights and freedoms could only be limited by a law passed by parliament and “only if demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

“I know of no law passed by the Majlis that says it is illegal to criticise the judiciary,” he said.

On the Supreme Court’s contention that he violated article 144(c) and (d), Ibra pointed out that he had not said anything about an ongoing case that could be construed as “interference or influence.”

Ibra went on to criticise the JSC for deciding to investigate his remarks: “It has nothing to do with the mandate of the JSC. What law says their job is to take measures against people who criticise the courts?”

Moreover, he added, the JSC could only ask police to investigate if there was a criminal offence involved.

“Whether it’s the executive, legislature or judiciary, if anyone is acting dictatorially and harming citizens, I will come out and I will do everything I can to stop it,” he said.

Former President’s member on the JSC and outspoken whistle-blower, Aishath Velezinee, told Minivan News that Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed had in his capacity as JSC President asked that police investigate Ibra, and then had the Supreme Court issue its statement.

“What are the police going to do? It sounds like the highest court in the land has already issued its verdict,” she said.


13 thoughts on “Supreme Court reprimands Ibra for criticising judiciary”

  1. Judiciary! what a mess??? For an outsider their comments speak for itself to what is happening in judiciary!!!!

    I join the call of Ibra to sort out the judges.

  2. Ibra thinks he is the biggest authority on Maldives Constitution since he was chair of the drafting committee. So,if there is any doubt re constitution he feels it should be referred to him and not to the Supreme Court. So, there is competition between him and SC.

  3. Ibra just taught the courts a lesson in law. What right does the JSC have to "investigate" people for speaking? It really goes to show what their priorities are.

  4. What a joke Maldives is becoming now. The Judiciary is there to interpret the law and not to rule the country. I thought the Supreme Court is above this but it seems that there are in the same boat.
    Supreme Court of all those organisations should know the what constitutes a criminal offence.
    If Ibra has shown contempt of court in a particular case then it is understandable but criticising the Judiciary is no offence at all and the public should do so any time they( the judiciary) messes things up.

  5. I support this call against the Judiciary. The government has the support of the people, so put all these crooks in the Judiciary to prison or ask them to quit if they do not want trouble in the coming future. The people from all sides has had enough of the Judiciary. It has ruined our country's justice system.

    People will rise if the government and opposition asks them to. This is for the good of our country's future.

  6. The Judiciary commission and the Supreme Court of Maldives is big joke. It seems that the personals who are involved in this institution do not even understand well the Maldivian constitution and they are behaving like dictators. Well what can you expect when a bunch of Mullahs and semi Mullahs are appointed of judges.
    Ibra I feel it is time we do something to get these gentlemen in the right direction.

  7. The Judiciary commission and the Supreme Court of Maldives is big joke. It seems that the personals who are involved in this institution do not even understand well the Maldivian constitution and they are behaving like dictators. Well what can you expect when a bunch of Mullahs and semi Mullahs are appointed of judges.
    Ibra I feel it is time we do something to get these gentlemen in the right direction.

  8. The Judiciary of this Country is a BIG JOKE! I don't think anyone of us respects the Judiciary or the Judges and its obvious that they do what ever they want, whenever they want and however they want, to ensure their pockets are full and that they can remain in power for the rest of their lives!

  9. At the Supreme Court except for one others are Mauhad and Arab educated Muhlaas. So we can only expect these sorts of funny statements from them.

  10. Okay, Ibra or any other faithful son of this country can keep silent but can the Judiciary prove the Maldives has a proper Justice system????

    The ICJ and the people of the Maldives cannot agree that the Maldives has a proper Justice system rather we all feel that we have a Judiciary that Ibra has described. So, why not the Judiciary make strong efforts to work together with the nation so that the nation kindheartedly accept their service instead of reprimanding the criticisms made by the faithful sons of this country

  11. Supreme Court can, and may release any amount of press releases; but that would not make the past and present judiciary system in the Maldives any cleaner!

    Neither it will undo the injustice, the system and those responsible for these, undo the injustice been and being done to individuals, the nation; and them selves!

    I am sure that there can be no law that could say that people cannot criticize the judiciary, the parliament, the government or those independent bodies who are paid with the peoples money!

  12. Ibra! I would rather think you need to call out a little louder to give a wake-up call!


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