Yameen’s ‘protective custody’ was unconstitutional, rules Civil Court

The Civil Court of the Maldives has ruled that the government’s detention of Abdulla Yameen, People’s Alliance (PA) and half-brother of former President Gayoom, was unconstitutional.

The PA is a minor opposition party which in coalition with the major Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has a parliamentary majority. The government has accused Yameen of bribery and treason, however following his arrest in June the Supreme Court refused to extend the period of his detention.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) held Yameen in isolation on the presidential retreat of ‘Aarah’ for nine days, releasing him on July 23. The government and the MNDF claimed Yameen’s detention was “for his own protection” after several groups of protesters clashed with police outside the MP’s house.

In July the MNDF took Yameen into protective custody after a group of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters gathered near his house and threw stones and water bottles.

MNDF claimed that Yameen was kept in isolation for his own safety and that he requested MNDF provide him security. However Yameen claimed he was taken by MNDF against his will.

In his verdict, Sameer noted that MNDF did not had the power to detain Yameen in Aarah for his protection under the MNDF law, article number 105 [b] and 243 of the constitution.

Chief Judge of the Civil Court Ali Sameer further ruled that the MNDF did not have the authority to restrict Yameen’s rights and freedoms, as guaranteed under the constitution.

Sameer declared that MNDF violated articles 41, 19, 21, 26, 30, 37, 45 and 46 of the constitution.

Any freedom and right guaranteed by the constitution could only be restricted according to a law enacted under article 16 of the constitution, or following the declaration of a state of emergency, Sameer said.

He added that it was a responsibility of all state institutions to uphold freedoms and rights mentioned in the constitution.


19 thoughts on “Yameen’s ‘protective custody’ was unconstitutional, rules Civil Court”

  1. I am too busy to uphold the constitution. I am sorry but I have to make a living. If I could earn 70,000rf a month like MPs I will be to uphold the constitution 24/7.

  2. Unconstitutional? Well! It's more unconstitutional when peoples rights are neglected, rule of law is denied, investigations infringed & evils of society let gone unchallenged.

    I wonder what will happen next????

  3. Oh! esteemed judge, your Highness could assure us why Hon Yameen was detained, and if that "why" stood up to scrutiny. We could perhaps proceed from their.

  4. Someone please enlighten; can a Civil Court can make a 'constitutional' ruling? Or does that happen only in the Maldives?

  5. Dear Sooraj,
    MPs make a lot more than 70,000 a month! They get 65,000 in straight pay; then they collect a further 50, 000 for attending committees of the Majlis-- and these Committees include the Committee of the Whole, which takes place at the same time as the regular sessions! Then they are able to get "donations" for individual votes, donations for asking questions of Ministers, donations for making speeches, donations for not making speeches, etc. So these greedy kleptomaniacs are sucking the people dry! And we call them Honourable Members! Yeah right, with Shahid as Speaker and Nazim as Deputy! Yeah, Brutus was an honourable man too!

  6. @Italian Maldivian

    I just had to post something with regard to your comment because it is not the first time I have read the same exact comment from you and also because I dont want your idiosyncrasy to go on without a reply.

    Firstly, you dont have a court called "civil court" in most countries, for example in the "UK" you have the magistrates court, crown court and for those cases which involve larger sums of money you have the "high court" chancery division and their appellate courts include the "court of appeal" and lastly the "supreme court".

    So in order to question whether this happens only in Maldives and link the question with civil court, only further begs the question whether their exist a court which is per se coined as the civil court with a different jurisdiction.

    Different countries have different names for different courts, for example the Maldivian high court with its appellate jurisdiction would be called the "court of appeal in the UK"

    ALL cases brought before a court involve rights that are enshrined in the constitution for example,
    1. Right to a fair trial.
    2. Right to a lawyer.
    If you somehow believe that the civil court or any court for that matter cannot decide on anything which is enshrined in the constitution then basically, these courts need not exist.

    you cannot even have a single case scenario which does not involve the rights enshrined in the constitution because the first rule that any court of law has to follow is, Right to a fair trial which is enshrined in the constitution and this applies whether its a case on contract, rent, sale, criminal or even family disputes.

    Secondly, in a few countries, for example Italy, you have a separate constitutional court, a court that does NOT decide cases which is highlighted in this Article but a court which decides whether LAWS passed by parliament are constitutional or not, and such laws are found to be either constitutional or declared unconstitutional.

    But most countries do not have a separate constitutional court, for that matter neither does the United States or the United Kingdom have a constitutional court.

    In the Maldives just like all other countries in the world all courts can interpret the constitution and the laws, because it is the reason they exist, to interpret laws and decide cases.

    and the high court of the Maldives can decide if a "LAW" (An Act passed by parliament or a regulation made under such a law) is constitutional or unconstitutional, but the case in this Article is not about a LAW passed by parliament and nowhere in the world would such a minor case be heard initially at the supreme court because everyday you have thousands of people brought before a magistrates court to decide whether they have been arrested constitutionally and legally all over the globe.

  7. So what is the consequence of this? What happens when someone does something unconstitutional?

  8. Chief Judge of the Civil Court Ali Sameer should be ashamed of bringing such shame to his family with his support to criminals. Courts are letting even murderers and their financial backers walk free these days.

    To the public atleast, anyone who is currently a Judge in the Maldives has a bad name stained in his life. People talk about corrupt judges more and more now. So it is not a position that gives someone an honest status, instead the opposite. It is a position that seems to be filled with the likes of people with the lowest level of iman (faith) in his religion, the highest level of greed and for the weakest who is more scared of this life compared to the next - where we all meet our Creator to answer for the wrongs we have done.

    He should really be afraid of the punishments waiting for him in the hereafter. May Allah (swt) show no mercy to people who are given high status but does not practice good in His name, for they are corrupt in the heart.

  9. I have full confidence in the MNDF, none at all in courts.

    Yaamin, Abdula Shahid, Nazim and co may think they are winning. What they have forgotten is that justice will be served if not in this life, in our after life. No one escapes karmic debt.

    Ultimately it is not the riches we own or the houses we have or the positions we hold that we will be remembered by after we die, it is who we were as a human being and the difference we made to someone elses life.

    I think its time we stopped ourselves from getting plugged into the dramas being created by Yaamin and Co.They will do what they will do as they did before. What say do we really have? All we are doing is feeding their egoes.

    Perhaps its time we stopped being an audience to the power games of our politicians and business community and looked seriously at what each one of us can do to make a difference. Focus on who we can be to bring inspiration and leadership to our people.

  10. Well said... German Maldivian. Unfortunately, some people are so 'blind' they will not see anything wrong with the 'change' they voted for! or is it that they are so stupid and adamant that they don’t want to see what is really going on? Maybe... God Bless this country.

  11. People keep forgetting that this is not about Yameen. This is about the fact that now, in this country - anyone can be put under "Protective Custody" with neither judicial acceptance, nor reference to any laws that exist. That the MNDF if is operating in Maldives so regularly is already an issue of great concern.

    Charges of bribery and treason can only be executed against an accused individual through an already established framework, laws, and due process. Once the rule of law is neglected, the democracy we once hoped to create crumbles and falls along with our hopes for a better nation.

    The legal team that advised the President telling him that Yameen could be held in this manner, apparently specifically said the same thing could be done to the Vice President. If that is true, then I do take offense to that implication, and I shudder for what this means for this nation.

  12. Thanks German Maldivian. You have indeed “enlightened”! Given your idiosyncrasy to read my comments, please clarify this. So, in Maldives, the Civil Court is the one that strikes down any state activities deemed to be unconstitutional?

  13. It may or may not have been RIGHT. But it sure got the gang violence for a while. No gang violence when Yaamin is in Aarah. May be Anni should get Yaamin into Aarah forever. It will be a violation of Haggu. But it will stop the gang violenece in Male. Let the people choose by vote.

  14. Salim, perhaps you would like to address why these laws are still not in existence?


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