MNDF sacks Colonel Ziyad

Colonel Mohamed Ziyad has been sacked by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on February 20.

In early 2012, Colonel Ziyad was among senior military officials charged in relation to the controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed on January 16, 2012.

At the first hearing of his trial at the Hulhumalé magistrate court in February 2012, Colonel Ziyad pleaded not guilty to the charges of arbitrary arrest and detention.

Ziyad’s sacking last week followed the dismissal of six senior officers, including Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, in November 2013.

The MNDF said at the time that Nilam had been demoted from the post of Brigadier General and dismissed for “violating MNDF duties and disciplinary norms, repeating acts that should not be seen from an MNDF officer, revealing secret information against military regulations, diminishing the honor of the MNDF, and sowing discord in the military”.

While First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef, Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed, and Staff Sergeant Ibrahim Ali were dismissed for allegedly breaching the MNDF’s duties and responsibilities, Staff Sergeant Hassan Hameed was dismissed for disciplinary offences and Lance Corporal Shahrab Rashid for leaking secret MNDF documents.

All six soldiers had previously been suspended on charges of sowing discord in the military.


Colonel Mohamed Ziyad denies charge of illegally arresting judge

Former Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) Head of Operations Directorate Colonel Mohamed Ziyad has denied the charge levied against him by the state over the former government’s detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed.

Colonel Mohamed Ziyad is charged for arresting the chief judge in January 2012, alongside former President Mohamed Nasheed, his Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Chief of Defense Force retired Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel and former MNDF Male Area Commander retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi.

All are facing charges under Article 81 of the Penal Code, for the offence of “arbitrarily arresting and detaining an innocent person”.

Article 81 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. Persons 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”.

During the hearing held at Hulhumale Magistrate Court on Monday, Colonel Ziyad denied the charges while his defence lawyer Mazlaan Rasheed raised two procedural points.

In the first procedural point, Ziyad’s lawyer informed the court that the Prosecutor General (PG)’s decision to press charges against his client while not pressing charges against the MNDF officers who actively took part in bringing the judge to custody violated the principle of fairness and equality.

In his second procedural point, Rasheed questioned the court as to how the state had decided on the innocence of Judge Abdulla.

State Prosecutor Aishath Fazna argued that following orders at the time from the Commander in Chief, President Mohamed Nasheed, Colonel Mohamed Ziyad as the Head of Directorate took part in the operation carried out by the MNDF in arresting the judge.

Responding to the charges, Ziyad’s lawyer contended that the charges lacked fairness and equality while Article 81 of the Penal Code – which the charges are based on – had “constitutional issues”.

He stated that the article conflicted with powers of the police to arrest a suspect of a crime. This, he explained would arise if a person is arrested and then later released by court, which would deem that his arrest was unlawful and all officers who took part in the arrest should be prosecuted.

The state in response argued that it was at the sole discretion of the Prosecutor General to decide on whether to press charges or not, and said that Ziyad had been charged over the extent of his involvement.

The prosecutor further claimed that it was Ziyad who had given the briefings to the officers before the arrest was made and had also requested two MNDF lawyers to see if the action could be legally defended.

The state attorney said that the reason for not pressing charges against officers who actively took part in the action was that those officials were obliged to follow orders and that the officers were not in a position to determine whether their orders were lawful or not.

She also posed several questions to the defendants, including on what charges the judge was arrested, why he was not brought before a court of law within 24 hours as stipulated in the constitution and why he was not released after the Supreme Court had ordered to do so.

In response, Colonel Ziyad’s lawyer argued that his client was not in a position to call for the release of judge and had several other higher-ranked officers.

Responding to the claim, State Attorney Abdulla Raabiu – who also was in the state prosecution team – said that Ziyad was being charged because he took part in discussing on how the judge should be arrested, days before the arrest was made.

“When speaking about fairness, where was Abdulla Mohamed’s right to life, when he was detained in Girifushi Island for 22 days? Where was his right to freedom?” Raabiu questioned.

In concluding today’s hearings, Chief Judge of the three-member panel of judges stated that it would later decide on the procedural points taken by the defendants, as the court required time to review the PG’s procedures.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu and retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi all denied the charge of arbitrarily detaining Chief Judge of Criminal Court AbdullaMohamed.


An investigation led by Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) found the former President 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. Others included Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi and Chief of Defense Force Moosa Ali Jaleel.

Judge Abdulla Mohamed was taken into military custody after the former Home Minister Hassan Afeef wrote to Defense Minister Tholhath asking him arrest the judge as he posed a threat to both the national security of the country and a threat to the country’s criminal justice system.

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.

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.


Hulhumale Magistrate Court schedules trials of former Defense Minister and other senior military officials

The Hulhumale Magistrate Court has scheduled hearings against former Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) Male Area Commander (retired) Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad.

All three are facing the same charges as former President Mohamed Nasheed, concerning the former administration’s arrest of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed, in January 2012.

Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) official, Mohamed Zahir, told Minivan News that the hearings are to take place from next week.

According to Zahir, Tholthath’s trial is scheduled to take place on February 16, while both retired Brigadier General Didi and Colonel Ziyad’s trial will be held on February 25.

Zahir said that a date has not yet been set for Nasheed’s hearing.

Nasheed meanwhile failed to appear in court for his scheduled hearing on Sunday. Nasheed was on an official visit to India and arrived back in the Maldives this afternoon. The hearing was cancelled in Nasheed’s absence.

Zahir told Minivan News that the bench would meet to decide on a date to hold the hearings.


An investigation led by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), on the order of the Prosecutor General (PG), found that the former President was the “highest authority liable” for the military-led detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Along with Nasheed, the report concluded that the former Defence Minister, Tholhath, was a second key figure responsible for the decision to detain Judge Abdulla.

The commission stated that the judge was not physically harmed during the 22-day detention at the military training island of Girifushi.

However, the HRCM did claim that the government had “violated his human dignity” and made attempts to manipulate the judge through a psychologist who visited him at the facility where he was detained.

In July 2012, the PG filed charges based on the findings of the HRCM investigation.  The accused stand charged with violating Article 81 of the Penal Code, which states that the detention of a government employee who has not been found guilty of a crime is illegal.

If found guilty, parties may face a jail sentence or banishment for three years or a MVR 3000 fine (US$193.5) at the discretion of the judge.

The PG pressed charges against Nasheed 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 Service Commission (JSC) appointed a 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.

During the first hearing of Nasheed’s trial, his legal team challenged the legitimacy of the court and several other inconsistencies, however was this was dismissed.

Nasheed’s legal team then appealed the matter in the High Court. Despite its initial rejection, the High Court subsequently accepted the team’s appeal over the procedural points and issued a injunction on the case.

Following the JSC’s request that it look into the legality of the magistrate court, the Supreme Court ruled that the magistrate court was formed in accordance with the law and therefore could operate normally.

Meanwhile, High Court upheld the rulings of Hulhumale Magistrate Court in the appeal case filed by Nasheed’s legal team, and ordered the court to proceed with the hearings.

Arrest of the judge

The chief judge was detained by the military after he opened the court outside normal hours and ordered the immediate release of current Home Minister and deputy leader of the Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), Dr Mohamed Jameel.

Jameel had been arrested after the President’s Office requested an investigation into “slanderous” allegations he made that the government was working under the influence of “Jews and Christian priests” to weaken Islam in the Maldives.

Nasheed’s Home Minister Hassan Afeef sought to justify the arrest claiming that the judge had taken the country’s “entire criminal justice system in his fist“.

Afeef meanwhile listed 14 cases of obstruction of police duty by Judge Abdulla, including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations and disregarding decisions by higher courts.

Afeef also accused the judge of “deliberately” holding up cases involving opposition figures, and barring media from corruption trials.


Tholath and Ziyad’s hearing cancelled as judge takes sick leave

Today’s scheduled hearing of former Minister of Defence Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Colonel Mohamed Ziyad has been postponed after one of the three judges on the panel took sick leave, local media has reported.

Thalhath and Ziyad join other MNDF officers Moosa Ali Jaleel and Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (retired) as well as former President Mohamed Nasheed in being charged with Article 81 of the penal code.

Haveeru reported that no new date has been set.

If found guilty, Nasheed and Tholhath will face a jail sentence or banishment for three years or a Rf 3000 fine (US$193.5).

Nasheed’s hearing was scheduled for Monday was cancelled after he failed to present himself in court and instead left Male’ to campaign in the southern atolls, in defiance of a travel ban.

The department of judicial administration yesterday confirmed that police were to produce Nasheed at a rescheduled hearing at 4:00pm on Sunday, October 7.

Nasheed’s legal team last week voiced concerns that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court had been assembled illegally, with judges “handpicked” in contravention of the Judicature Act.