Nasheed predicts he will soon be jailed

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed has predicted that he will be jailed in the upcoming weeks.

Speaking at the party’s 129th National Council sitting last night (February 10) Nasheed stated that although he will be very saddened to leave his family and worldly pleasures, he is determined to patiently bear the pain and “if necessary, even torture”.

“Nevertheless, with your permission, I would like to spend my jail days as the president of this party”, Nasheed said, requesting that the party “try and free me as soon as possible” and to “try and find a way in which I could be saved without being sentenced”.

Nasheed’s challenge of the composition of the Hulhumalé Magistrates Court bench was rejected on jurisdictional grounds on Monday (February 9), paving the way for the court to resume his trial for the January 2012 detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Nasheed has described judicial proceedings as being influenced by the government, making them “unfair”, alleging that the government’s intention was to sentence him before the new Penal Code is implemented in April, 2015.

Nasheed’s legal team has subsequently submitted the case to the Civil Court, again challenging the composition of the Hulhumalé court bench. The first hearing of the case is scheduled at Civil Court today at 4pm.

In last night’s meeting held to discuss the steps that need to be taken by the MDP in defending the Constitution, Nasheed also said that more than 10 parliament members from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) are discussing switching to the opposition alliance.

The MDP and Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP) signed an agreement during a mass rally last Thursday (February 5) night to “defend the spirit of the Constitution and do everything necessary to guarantee the rule of law”.

The agreement pledges to prevent the passing of any propositions in the People’s Majlis against the letter or the spirit of the Constitution, both inside and outside of the Majlis. Currently, the two parties control 34 seats in the 85-seat legislature.

The MDP National Council also decided last night to pass a motion submitted by Villimalé constituency president Mohamed Ibrahim Manik to lift the disciplinary measures preventing MPs who had violated the party’s whip line from participating in votes taken in the party’s internal bodies.

It was also decided that Anas Abdul Sattar be appointed as the party’s secretary general.

Nasheed stated that the joint parliamentary group to be formed under the MDP-JP agreement will strive towards appointing Maamigili MP Gasim to post of speaker of parliament.

Gasim’s decision to stand for the position last May prompted the end of his party’s alliance with the PPM, though the JP did not officially sever ties until late last month.

Nasheed also assured that, if and when the alliance gains the majority, the current composition of independent institutions, such as the Judicial Services Commission, will be changed.

“I will be even more active from block C of Maafushi Jail,” concluded Nasheed.

Related to this story

High Court cannot deliberate on Hulhumalé court bench

Opposition alliance a “waste of time”, says Gayoom

MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution


Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed takes over ‘Sun’ Shiyam’s case

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has taken over the alcohol smuggling and possession trial of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam.

Citing a letter sent from the criminal court secretariat to Judge Ahmed Sameer Abdul Aziz, who was previously overseeing proceedings, Haveeru has reported that the action was taken in response to a letter from the Supreme Court.

The decision has come amid media reports that Judge Aziz was to be replaced with Judge Shujau Usman after a request from government coalition leader Shiyam

According to the court spokesperson, the action was taken following complaints regarding the case, and was done under Article 55 (e) of the Judicature Act.

The article specifies that it is the responsibility of the senior judge in superior courts to “take action in relation to delays and other complaints related to cases submitted to the court”.

Shiyam request allegedly stated that Judge Aziz’s “hand gestures and facial expressions” indicated a personal grudge against him which could lead to an unfair trial.

According to reports, in addition to making the request for the removal of Judge Aziz from the Criminal Court and Supreme Court, Shiyam wrote a letter to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz stating his belief that his complaints regarding the judge had further increased the risk of receiving an unfair trial.

In a letter addressed to the chief justice, which was acquired by the media, Shiyam was reported to have said he had received reports that the judge may be “considering a hastened and strict verdict” against him.

Denying reports that the case had already been handed over to a new judge, the court today said it still remains with Chief Judge Abdulla.

Shiyam was charged with smuggling and possession of alcohol in March 2012 after customs officers at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) discovered a bottle of alcohol in his luggage.

The case remained in the investigation stage for a year after the Prosecutor General’s Office sent it back to the police in August 2012 citing a lack of necessary information.

Since the trial began in November 2013, the Criminal Court has cancelled four scheduled hearings after being unable to deliver the summons chit to Shiyam.

He appeared before the court for the first and the only hearing held in the case on March 13 this year after a court order was issued to bring him before the court under police custody. Shiyam denied the charges and requested more time to research the case.

The second hearing in the trial has been rescheduled three times, the most recent instance occurring earlier this week.

In late March, CNM reported that Judge Abdulla – prior to the official schedule date for the second hearing – had attempted to hold an unofficial hearing while judge Aziz was on leave.

If found guilty Shiyam could lose his seat in parliament as per Article 73(c)(2) of the constitution which states that members of the parliament will be disqualified upon receiving a criminal sentence of more than twelve months.

Meanwhile, a hearing in the trial of Shiyam’s brother, Ahmed Salim Mohamed, for disobedience to order have also been cancelled this week, on the same date Shiyam’s latest delay.

Haveeru reports that Chief Judge Abdulla has on several occasions asked presiding Judge Muhtaz Hussein to hand the case over to him, though the court informed Minivan News today that this has not yet happened.


PPM lobbying to re-start Nasheed’s criminal trial

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has said it is lobbying the courts to resume proceedings in the criminal case against opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed.

PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen’s election agent, Abdulla Ameen yesterday (September 30) told local media that it was imperative the judiciary speed up the court cases concerning Nasheed’s criminal prosecution.

Ameen called on the EC to delay the second round of elections until the courts concluded the trial of Nasheed, expressing fears that the public may otherwise begin to question the credibility of the elections.

Nasheed was charged by the prosecutor general for his involvement in the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, during the final days of his presidency.

The case is currently suspended after Nasheed’s legal counsel challenged the legitimacy of the appointment of the judges-panel to Hulhumale Magistrates Court, where the trial is being heard.

During a PPM rally held on Monday evening PPM MP Ahmed Shareef claimed that, once the party finished its work, the MDP would be dissolved, would cease to exist as a political party, and that Nasheed’s name would not be in the ballot paper.

The PPM MP also claimed that the 95,224 votes which Nasheed had obtained in the first round were achieved “through fraud and deception”.

“The maximum vote that man will ever get is 50,000 -60,000. That is even if they work extremely hard. [Extremely hard work such as] deceiving the people, brain washing them and misleading the youth,” Shareef told the rally.

Meanwhile, PPM running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed told the rally that the Maldives would not have any stability if there is a presidential election with Nasheed competing as a candidate.

Jameel claimed that Nasheed had treated the Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in “such an inhumane and derogatory manner” when the only wrong he had committed was to “faithfully execute his responsibilities as a judge”.

The former home minister also said that the judges who had purposefully been delaying the former president’s trial should take responsibility for the current state of the country.

Jameel previously said that the MDP leader “will not be allowed to assume power”, even if he should emerge as the clear winner in the run-off election.

Election drama

The official results of the first round of Presidential Elections – held on September 7 – showed the MDP finishing the race in front with 45.45 percent of the popular vote, while former 30 year autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s PPM trailed behind with 25.35 percent of the popular vote.

The constitution dictates that if no candidate attains the required ’50 percent plus one vote’ for a first round election victory, the winner is decided by a run-off election held 21 days after the first poll.

However, resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP) – who narrowly missed a place in the run-off elections after finishing the poll in the third position with 24.07 percent – filed a Supreme Court case requesting the court annul the poll, alleging voting discrepancies and irregularities.

On September 23, the Supreme Court issued an injunction indefinitely delaying the second round of the presidential election until it had finished looking into alleged discrepancies from the first round.

In addition to challenging the validity of the presidential elections, the PPM last Sunday announced its intention to file Supreme Court cases against individual opposition MPs, including Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, in a bid to challenge their legitimacy as members of parliament.

The announcement comes at a time when the PPM and its allies have lost the parliamentary majority to the opposition MDP after the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) –  with eight MPs in parliament – decided to back the MDP in the presidential polls.

Speaking to the press, PPM’s legal advisor Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim said, “There is a dispute on whether [MPs] have lost their seats in parliament due to speaking out against Maldives’ Supreme Court’s order and defaming the Supreme Court, and other court’s judges. I would like to inform you we will file this case at the Supreme Court.”

The MDP and its new ally the DRP now control 39 out of 77 seats in the parliament – a simple majority. The two parties last week passed a resolution ordering the EC to proceed with polls as planned, and called for the security forces to support the EC.

The resolution, however, was ignored in favour of the Supreme Court order.

However, following a second Supreme Court order – calling upon the security services up uphold the injunction – police surrounded the EC secretariat. The EC soon announced prompting the EC to announce that current conditions were not conducive to a free and fair election.


Former Defense Minister denies charges in Hulhumale Magistrate Court

Former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu has denied the charge of arbitrary detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdullah Mohamed, during the first hearing of his criminal trial held in the controversial Hulhumale Magistrate Court.

The Prosecutor General has charged Tholhath for arresting the judge in January 2012, during his tenure as the minister of defense under former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.

Others facing the same charges include former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Chief of Defense Force retired Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, former Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) Male Area Commander retired Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Didi and Colonel Ziyad.

During the first hearing of the trial held on this Monday, State Prosecutor Abdulla Raabiu claimed that following orders from the Commander in Chief – President Mohamed Nasheed – Tholhath had orchestrated the plan to arrest the judge and had arbitrarily detained Judge Abdulla Mohamed from January 16, 2012 until February 7, 2012.

Tholhath should therefore be charged for the offense of arbitrarily detaining an innocent individual as stipulated in article 81 of the Penal Code, Raabiu added.

The article 81 of the Maldives Penal Code states: “It shall be an offense for any public servant by reason of the authority of office he is in to detain to arrest or detain in a manner contrary to Law innocent persons. Person guilty of this offense shall be subjected to exile or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding MVR 2,000.00”.

Denying the charge, the former defense minister claimed that charge pressed against him was “not legitimate”, but did not state his reasons for the claim.

Speaking on behalf of Tholhath Ibrahim, his defense lawyer Mohamed Ibrahim argued that the trial lacked the necessary impartiality, contending that same charges should be pressed against former Home Minister Hassan Afeef and Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh, as they were responsible for maintaining law and order within the state.

Detention of the judge

Minister Afeef at the time of the judge’s arrest accused him of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”, listing 14 cases of obstruction of police duty, including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations and disregarding decisions by higher courts.

Afeef accused the judge of “deliberately” holding up cases involving opposition figures, and barring media from corruption trials, ordering the release of suspects detained for serious crimes “without a single hearing”, maintaining “suspicious ties” with family members of convicts sentenced for dangerous crimes, and releasing a murder suspect “in the name of holding ministers accountable”, who went on to kill another victim.

Afeef also alleged that the judge actively undermined cases against drug trafficking suspects and had allowed them opportunity to “fabricate false evidence after hearings had concluded”.

Judge Abdulla “hijacked the whole court” by deciding that he alone could issue search warrants, Afeef alleged, and had arbitrarily suspended court officers. He also accused the judge of “twisting and interpreting laws so they could not be enforced against certain politicians” and “accepting bribes to release convicts.”

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) itself had investigated Abdulla Mohamed but stopped short of releasing a report into his ethical misconduct, after the Civil Court awarded the judge an injunction against his further investigation by the judicial watchdog.

JSC whistleblower Aishath Velezinee has also contended that the JSC’s blanket reappointment of all interim judges and magistrates in 2010 violated article 285 of the constitution guaranteeing an ethical and qualified judiciary, and that as such, the case “is based on a false premise, the assumption that Abdulla Mohamed is a constitutionally appointed judge, which is a political creation and ignores all evidence refuting this.”

The JSC itself had investigated Abdulla Mohamed but stopped short of releasing a report into his ethical misconduct after the Civil Court awarded the judge an injunction against his further investigation by the judicial watchdog.

Military assisted police

During Tholath’s trial, his lawyer argued that the military did not conduct intensive legal reviews of requests for assistance from the police, and said his client fully believed that the military should act as quickly as it could to assist the police when required.

When the judges sought to clarify as to what part of the charge Tholthath was denying, his lawyer stated that his client had not done anything against the law.

In response to Tholhath Ibrahim’s denial of the charges, the state produced witnesses in support of its claim.

This list of witnesses included current Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam, former Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh, former Vice Chief of Defense Force Farhath Shaheer, former Military Intelligence Chief Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, former Deputy Commissioner of Police Ismail Atheef, Colonel Wise Waheed and Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) Media Official Colonel Abdul Raheem.

Along with the witnesses, the state also produced as evidence a list of text messages sent from Tholhath Ibrahim’s mobile phone, video footage of the arrest of the judge and a transcript of a cabinet meeting in which the issue was debated.

State prosecutor Raabiu said the state was willing to produce more witnesses and evidences to court if the need arises as the trial progressed.

When the evidence was produced in court, Tholhath lawyer requested the court give a period of one month to review the evidence put forth against his claim.

Dismissing the request, the sitting judges stated that the trial had been put on hold for a long time and that certain documents had already been shared with the defendants, therefore the next hearing would be scheduled for March 13, giving the defendant a period of 23 days.

An investigation led by Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) found the former President Nasheed as the “highest authority liable” for the military-led detention of the Judge. The HRCM also identified Tholhath Ibrahim as a “second key figure” involved in the matter.

In July 2012, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz pressed charges against the parties who had been identified in the HRCM investigation as responsible for the arrest.

Following the charges, former President Nasheed’s legal team challenged the legitimacy of the Hulhumale Magistrate Court in High Court, but the Supreme Court intervened and dismissed the claims by declaring the magistrate court was legitimate and could operate as a court of law.

The trial was heard by all three judges of Hulhumale Magistrate Court appointed to look into the case. The panel consists of Judge Shujaau Usmaan, Judge Hussain Mazeed and Judge Abdul Nasir Abdul Raheem.

Contentious court

The Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, which is also trying former President Nasheed for his detention of the Chief Criminal Court Judge during his final days in office, was created by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

The JSC, which includes several of Nasheed’s direct political opponents including rival presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim, also appointed the three-member panel of judges overhearing the trial.

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Oversight Committee has previously declared that the JSC’s creation of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was unconstitutional.

However, the Supreme Court declared parliament overruled, issuing a statement that “no institution should meddle with the business of the courts”, and claiming that as it held authority over “constitutional and legal affairs” it would “not allow such interference to take place.”

“The judiciary established under the constitution is an independent and impartial institution and that all public institutions shall protect and uphold this independence and impartiality and therefore no institution shall interfere or influence the functioning of the courts,” the Supreme Court stated.

A subsequent request by the JSC that the Supreme Court bench rule on the court’s legitimacy resulted in a four to three vote in favour. The casting vote was made by Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed, also President of the JSC.


High Court ruling “clearly means I will not be allowed a fair trial”: former President Nasheed

The High Court has ruled in favour of the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court rejecting an appeal filed by former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed is being tried in the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court for the controversial detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

The former president had contested the Hulhumale’-based court’s ruling on three procedural issues raised during an initial hearing of his case in October 2012.

Among these issues, Nasheed’s legal team argued that the Hulhumale-based magistrate court could not hold hearings on a nearby island – in this case the capital Male’.  Moreover, a summoning order issued to Nasheed by the court on September 26, 2012, was inconsistent with existing laws, his lawyers claimed.

Finally, Nasheed’s representatives claimed Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was formed in contrast with the Judicature Act.

Issuing a verdict today, the three member judges panel overseeing the appeal ruled that there were no “legal grounds” to declare the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court and its decisions illegitimate.

“Therefore, based on the points highlighted remains as such, the sitting judges unanimously agreed that the High Court had no legal grounds to declare the decisions made by Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court in its ruling no. 397/HMC/2012 on October 9, 2012 illegitimate,” read the verdict.

Responding to the first procedural point raised by Nasheed, the High Court stated that holding a hearing in a spacious venue in Male’ was essential to achieve the purpose of articles 42(c) and 42(d) of the constitution, demanding transparent and open court hearings.

The court also declared that holding such a hearing in Male’ did not compromise the rights of any party and that there existed no law barring a court from holding a hearing in a different venue.

The court also noted that the holding of trials in different venues was a practice carried out by other courts of law.

Regarding the legitimacy of the magistrate court, the High Court said it did not have the authority to overrule a decision by the higher court, despite an appeal by Nasheed’s legal team to the contrary.

The High Court claimed additionally that as per the constitution, the Supreme Court remains the highest authority in deciding legal matters – therefore its decisions are final and binding.

The Supreme Court has previously declared that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court is legitimate and can operate as a court of law, following a request by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that it clarify the court’s legality.

Highlighting the third procedural point, the High Court ruled that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court has the legal authority to issue a summons and that no barrier existed to issuing such orders.

The High Court also stated that principles followed by both itself and the Supreme Court did not limit the magistrate court from issuing such an order.

Immediately following the ruling, President Nasheed was served a summons to attend the Hulhumale’ Magistrate court on February 10.

MDP response to verdict

In a statement following the verdict, Nasheed said the decision “clearly means I will not be allowed a fair trial.”

Former MDP Chairperson MP Mariya Didi noted that the High Court concluded the case after only two successive hearings, adding that it seemed the Hulhumale’ Court “had prepared summons before the High Court judgement was even delivered.”

“Today was a travesty of justice and demonstrates how much President Nasheed’s case is a politically motivated trial,” she said.

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel – formerly Justice Minister during President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30 year government – has meanwhile told local media that swift prosecution of Nasheed before the Presidential Election was necessary to protect the “political and social fabric of the Maldives”.

“Every single day that passes without a verdict will raise questions over the justice system of the Maldives in the minds of the people,” Jameel told newspaper Haveeru.


The Prosecutor General (PG) pressed charges against the former President in the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court on the grounds that holding the trial in Male’ at the Criminal Court represented a conflict of interest on behalf of Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, whom the case concerned.

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) appointed the three-member panel of judges to oversee the trial of the former president. The Commission’s members include two of Nasheed’s direct political opponents, including Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid – Deputy of the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) – and Gasim Ibrahim, a resort tycoon, media owner, MP and leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP), also a member of the governing coalition.

While maintaining the trial was a politically-motivated attempt to block Nasheed from contesting the election – scheduled now for September 7 – the former president’s legal team raised procedural points challenging the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

They argued that the court was created by the JSC in violation of the Judicature Act, and had no legal or constitutional authority.

The team raised the issue during the first hearing of the trial held on October 2012, along with other procedural inconsistencies, but all were rejected.

The former President’s legal team subsequently lodged an appeal in the High Court challenging the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court’s ruling on the procedural points.

Despite its initial rejection of the points, the High Court later accepted the appeal. It therefore issued an injunction ordering the magistrate court to suspend Nasheed’s trial until a decision on the procedural points raised by Nasheed’s legal team was reached.

Nasheed’s legal team said it was prepared to appeal the case in the Supreme Court depending on the outcome.

Nasheed’s legal team were not responding to calls at time of press.


High Court brings forward Nasheed’s appeal case

The High Court has brought forward former President Mohamed Nasheed’s appeal case, now scheduled for Sunday.

Nasheed is being tried in the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court for the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

The former President’s legal team lodged the appeal challenging the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court’s ruling on three procedural issues raised during the court’s first hearing held October 9.

Speaking to Minivan News, MP Mariya Ahmed Didi confirmed the legal team had been informed of the decision to move the hearing.

“I understand from President Nasheed’s lawyers that they have received summons for February 3, as Nasheed had requested to depart the country the afternoon after the hearing. As far as I understand no particular reason was cited,” she said.

Didi however expressed concern over the High Court taking decisions on such short notice, stating that as Nasheed received legal council from abroad, such sudden changes in scheduling were inconvenient.

“These are Queens Counciler’s and their schedules are set in advance.  It is not possible to reschedule at such short notice. We have requested the High Court to bear with us on that,” she said.

Didi contended it was imperative that Nasheed be given “all opportunities to defend himself as a defendant in a criminal trial”. Nasheed “should not be an exception to that,” she said.

Spokesperson for the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) Latheefa Gasim was not responding.

Meanwhile, Nasheed’s legal team has also sought an opportunity to highlight in court the Supreme Court’s ruling concerning the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Supreme Court has declared that Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court is legitimate and can operate as a court of law, following the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)’s request that it clarify the court’s legality.

MP Mariya said Nasheed’s legal team was of the opinion that the issue decided in the Supreme Court was different from the issue put before the High Court by the legal team.

“We hope the High Court will give our lawyers the opportunity to explain the distinction and consider all issues before they give a judgment on the matter,” she said.

Following the Prosecutor General (PG)’s decision to press charges against Nasheed in the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court instead of Criminal Court, Nasheed’s legal team initially challenged the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ court arguing that it was created in violation of the Judicature Act.

The team raised the issue during the first hearings of the trial, along with other procedural inconsistencies, but all were rejected. They later appealed the case in the High Court along with other procedural issues.

Despite its initial rejection of the procedural points, the High Court later accepted all points made by Nasheed’s legal team except that concerning the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court. It later issued an injunction ordering the magistrate court to suspend Nasheed’s trial until a decision on the procedural points raised by Nasheed’s legal team was reached.


The case has been subject to controversy after Nasheed’s party  claimed the trial was a politically motivated attempt to bar Nasheed from contesting in the next presidential elections.

The UK Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) in a recent report concluded that the charges against Nasheed appeared to be a politically motivated attempt to bar the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate from the 2013 presidential elections.

“BHRC is concerned that a primary motivation behind the present trial is a desire by those in power to exclude Mr Nasheed from standing in the 2013 elections, and notes international opinion that this would not be a positive outcome for the Maldives,” the report stated.

The report observed that the detention of the judge was “not a simple case of abuse of power”.

“Rather, the underlying narrative of the situation is that of a president desperate to bring change to a new democracy after decades of oppression, and finding himself thwarted by the inability of the organs of state set up by the constitution to deliver much needed reform,” the report stated.

Referring to “the large number of international reports” that have found the Maldivian judiciary to be flawed, the BHRC noted that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) “failed in its twin tasks of ensuring that the judiciary has the appropriate experience and qualifications, and in bringing to book the judges who fail to fully and fairly implement the rule of law”.

“Implicit in these criticisms is that Mr Nasheed cannot be guaranteed a fair trial,” the report concluded.

Arrest of the judge

Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed was taken into military detention of January 16, 2012 at the request of then Home Minister Hassan Afeef on the grounds that the judge posed a threat to national security.

The judge had successfully blocked investigation of his misconduct by the judicial watchdog and quashed his own police summons.

Abdulla Mohamed had “taken the entire criminal justice system in his fist,” Afeef said, accusing him of obstructing high-profile corruption cases, releasing murder suspects, colluding with drug traffickers, and barring media from corruption trials.

Judge Abdulla “hijacked the whole court” by deciding that he alone could issue search warrants, Afeef contended, and had arbitrarily suspended court officers.

The arrest triggered series of anti-governmental protests that eventually led to the sudden resignation of then President Nasheed on February 7, 2012.


Judge Abdulla case to be appealed by JSC

The Civil Court’s annulment of the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) decision that Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed is guilty of misconduct has been appealed by the JSC.

JSC Media Official Hassan Zaheen said on Tuesday that the decision to appeal the case was made some time ago.

Judge Abdullah was found guilty of misconduct by JSC following a report by DhiTV News, on July 2009, of a comment made by Judge Abdullah about former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government.

The Civil Court annulled the JSC’s decision on 25 July 2012.

It was ruled by Civil Court that evidence presented by JSC’s investigation team on the subject was not sufficient to prove that Judge Abdulla made the comment.

The Court highlighted that JSC did not allow Judge Abdulla the opportunity to present his defence on this case.


Nasheed and Defense Minister responsible for arrest of Judge Abdulla: HRCM shadow report

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has publicly revealed the names of those it considers responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, despite previously stating that it did not wish to reveal the names for risk of prejudicing any court action.

In the shadow report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in response to the Maldives initial state report submitted by the commission to UN Human Rights Committee in June, HRCM explicitly blames those responsible for the arbitrary arrest.

Article 71(iv) of the report reads: “It is conclusive to the investigation that the President and the Minister for Defense and National Security have to take the responsibility for arbitrary arrest and detention of the Chief Judge.”

Article 71(v) reads: “It is conclusive that it was the orders of the President to arrest Chief Judge as there was no action taken against the MNDF for disobedience to the orders of the Courts.”

However, in a press conference held on Wednesday, President of HRCM Mariyam Azra declined to give the names of those involved in the alleged abuse of the judge’s human rights. HRCM also declined to give any other details at present that it felt could influence any potential trials after charges were filed against Nasheed and several senior figures in the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) this week.

During the press conference, commission member Dr Ali Shameem spoke of the importance of having at least a “presence” of international human rights organsations at a time where the country was seeing violent political turbulence.

“I think it is very important that international human rights organisations have a presence – at least an office here in the Maldives – which we could easily reach on matters regarding human rights,” he said.

However, commission President Azra spoke against the views of the commission member, stating that she was of the view that it was “a domestic thing which we want to tackle ourselves.”

“I do not think we need an international presence. I believe the matter is a domestic thing and I am of the view that a local can be found,” she said.

During the press conference, members of the HRCM stated that their investigation had uncovered evidence that the judge, who was detained during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed over allegations that he posed a threat to national security, had faced attempts to remove him from his post and send him abroad.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who had been in government during the time of Judge Abdulla’s detention, today raised concerns over what it claimed was the “complicit irresponsibility” of the HRCM – a body it alleged was biased towards the political interests of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Furthermore, the commission used the press briefing to publicise its concerns that “efforts” had been made to “coerce” the judge to commit unspecified actions that would have contravened his human rights.

Speaking to Minivan News, Azra stated that she did had not declined to reveal the names of those who were found responsible, but said she had declined to suggest against whom the Prosecutor General (PG) should press charges.

“It is not my duty to say against whom the charges should be pressed. It’s the PG who will decide it,” she said.

“We have also sent a copy of the report to President Nasheed, the Defence Minister and all the concerned authorities,” she added.

She also stated that she had been unable to answer calls from Minivan News yesterday at time of press.

“Serious Concerns”

Responding to the press briefing, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – of which Nasheed is the current presidential candidate – said it held “serious concerns” in the selective nature of the HRCM’s investigations.

MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor alleged that the HRCM’s investigation had now formed the basis of criminal charges filed against Nasheed.  The case was yesterday returned to the Prosecutor General’s (PG’s) Office after the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court said it did not presently have jurisdiction to hear such a case.

In March, the Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz told Minivan News that the completion of the Nasheed cases was being delayed whilst police reviewed certain aspects of the investigation.

Ghafoor claimed that the decision to move ahead with the charges this week raised questions about allegations of political influence on the HRCM and the information it made available to the PG’s Office.

“I believe there is a very strong link between the HRCM holding this media briefing today and Islamist factions linked to [former President] Gayoom,” he added. “This week this faction has been very active in lobbying the HRCM, the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and even the president himself.”

Just last month, 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.


Nasheed challenges former President Gayoom to also appear before parliamentary inquiry

Ousted President Mohamed Nasheed has last night responded to allegations levied against him by pro-government political figures, during a rally held at the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest camp ‘Usfasgandu’.

Speaking during the rally, Nasheed said that he was willing to give evidence to a parliament inquiry regarding every detail about his three year tenure as president.

While speaking in support of Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid’s decision to allow the summoning of former presidents and leaders of political parties to parliament, Nasheed dared his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as whether he had “the guts” to appear and reveal details of his own 30 year rule.

“I just want to clarify with the leaders of these political parties: are they ready to reveal the details of their bank accounts to the parliament?” Nasheed challenged.

“I want to clarify with Maumoon Abdul Gayoom whether he was willing to share with parliament about how much knew of the incidents that took place in the country’s prisons during his 30 year regime. Did he order the shooting of inmates in Gaamaadhoo Jail?” he asked.

Nasheed said he wants to know whether Gayoom was willing to clear doubts about whether prisoner Evan Naseem was “shot dead or not” to the people of the country.

He further said that he would ask the parliament whether they would clarify to the people about how the leaders of the political parties gained funding and how they were spending it.

Nasheed said that he was ready to provide every detail of how he ran the country for three years despite the numerous challenges and obstructions from then opposition parties.

He contended that during his tenure as president, he had never ordered anyone tortured and that he had never embezzled public funds.

“I am prepared to provide every detail of my bank account from the day I opened it up until today, to the People’s Majlis [parliament]. I am even willing to cooperate with the Majlis for them to check whether I had a foreign bank account or whether there is any information regarding such, anywhere in the world,” he said.

He added people did not want to hand over the nation’s top office to political leaders who had misappropriated public funds and tortured them in the process, and that it was a duty of the parliament to investigate such allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

“I also do hope that they would share all the details of their oil businesses, their resort businesses, all those ‘Bonaqua’ bottles, details of all those leaked videos of theirs, and as well as all the information with the police to the parliament,” he said.

‘Bonaqua’ was a reference to current Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, who appeared in a video broadcast by MDP-aligned Raajje TV, holding a water bottle and talking to a woman. The station alleged the footage amounted to a “sex scandal”, and claimed it could not release further footage in the interest of public decency.

Nasheed called his supporters on the islands to come to the capital the day he is summoned to parliament for questioning, claiming that people had the right to know what had been going on.

On June 28, Jumhoree Party (JP) Deputy Leader MP Abdullah Jabir  proposed and passed a resolution assembling a temporary committee to investigate the alleged illegal actions of Nasheed.

The motion to form a seven man committee was passed before the session was halted after vehement protests from the MDP parliamentary caucus.

However, yesterday the seven member parliamentary committee was assembled including just one member from the MDP parliamentary group.

The seven member committee includes MP Ali Waheed from MDP, MP Ibrahim Mutthalib from Adaalath Party (AP), Independent MP Ibrahim Riza, MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), MP Riyaz Rasheed from Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), and MP Moosa Zameer from People’s Alliance (PA) as well as Jabir himself, who intends to contest the chairmanship of the committee.

“It is important to understand these activities. If we find he has acted against the constitution, parliament will decide on the process that should be taken after that,” he explained at the time.

Arresting of  judge

Speaking at the rally, Nasheed highlighted the decision he made to arrest the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, stating that he had “every reason” to arrest him.

Nasheed said he had ordered the MNDF to make the arrest after Home Minister Ahmed Afeef and then Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh had said that the judge posed a threat to the national security.

He also added that he had several other “legitimate reasons” to arrest the judge, and that he had realised the “depth of information I received from the police and the military and from several citizens”, and that he was willing to “provide this information [about the judge] to the parliament.”

He further said that the reason for an illegitimate ‘coup’ government to take over the country and the incitement of hatred amongst the people as well as failing of the country’s legal and constitutional system, was

The former opposition had incited hatred – including religious accusations – among the population, benefited from the failure of the country’s legal and constitutional system, and ultimately taken over the government in a bid to protect a judge who posed a threat to the national security and the criminal justice system of the country, he said. Police and MNDF had failed to find a solution to the judge, he added.

Earlier, regarding the charges against Nasheed, Deputy Leader of PPM, Umar Naseer expressed his confidence that the Prosecutor General’s (PG) investigation into charges against former President Mohamed Nasheed would  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,” said Naseer, according to local newspaper Haveeru.

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 to prosecute Nasheed.

“[The PG] 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.

Current Home Minister Mohamed Jameel – also the Justice Minister under Gayoom’s government – spoken in similar fashion, telling local media that he was confident “Nasheed will be imprisoned for a very long period.”

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested by the MNDF on the evening of Monday, January 16, in compliance with a police request. The judge’s whereabouts were not revealed until January 18.

However, later the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) revealed that the judge was under their supervision at Girifushi in Kaafu Atoll (an MNDF training facility).

Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz later joined the High Court and Supreme Court in condemning the MNDF’s role in the arrest, requesting that the judge be released.

According to Muizz, police are required to go through the PG’s Office to obtain an arrest warrant from the High Court.

“They haven’t followed the procedures, and the authorities are in breach of law. They could be charged with contempt of the courts,” he said at the time.

After the arrest, violent protests erupted as then opposition parties led by the PPM of former President Gayoom took to the streets in the name of “upholding the constitution”.

The 22 day long protest ended after the toppling Nasheed’s government and the releasing Judge Abdulla, after several police and the MNDF officers stood up against his administration and joined forces with the protesters on February 7.

The MDP maintained that Nasheed was forced out of office in what they described as a coup d’état.

PPM’s Spokesperson MP Ahmed Nihan had not responded at time of press.