MP Imthiyaz Fahmy charged with contempt of court under expired regulation

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy is being tried for contempt of court under a regulation that expired in 2011, the MP’s lawyer Masthoor Husny has said during a Criminal Court hearing today.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is charging Fahmy for comments criticizing the Supreme Court during a Raajje TV program called “Fala Suruhee” (Headlines).

Police have asked the PG to try MDP MPs Alhan Fahmy, Mohamed ‘Bonda’ Rasheed, Ali Waheed and ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik on the same charges.

Husny cited Article 19 and 59 of the Constitution ratified in 2008 which states that a citizen is free to engage in any conduct or activity that is not expressly prohibited by Islamic Shariah or by law and states that no person shall be found guilty of any act or omission.

The regulation criminalising contempt of court was to expire with the ratification of the new constitution.

But the People’s Majlis voted at the time to extend the validity of several regulations until the government is able to submit new laws that are streamlined under the new constitution.

However, in 2011, when the regulations were up for yearly review, the Majlis failed to extend the validity of the regulation criminalising contempt of court.

The hearing was adjourned today when the state prosecutor requested more time to review the matter.

Meanwhile, MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has returned home after four weeks of refuge inside the People’s Majlis to evade Criminal Court summons issued in violation of the Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act.

The Criminal Court then sentenced Hamid to six months in jail in absentia for disobedience to order.

The MDP had pledged to ‘clean the judiciary’ following a series of sex tapes in which Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed appears to be having sex with several foreign women in a Colombo hotel room.

The MDP has also condemned a series of controversial Supreme Court rulings annulling the first round of presidential elections held on September 7 and the stripping of parliamentary seats of MDP MP Ali Azim and MDP aligned DRP’s Mohamed Nashiz.