Sacked Human Rights Minister files case in court to declare Waheed government illegitimate

A legal team led by sacked Human Rights Minister Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has filed a case at the High Court, requesting it rule that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation was obtained under duress and the transfer of power on February 7, 2012 was illegitimate.

Nasheed’s resignation followed 22 days of continuous protests backed by religious scholars, opposition leaders and mutinying police and military officers, in mid-January 2012, over the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed. Nasheed’s Vice-President Mohamed Waheed Hassan subsequently ascended to power.

Following resignation, Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed he was forced to resign under duress and that his government was toppled in a bloodless coup d’etat.

Dhiyana Saeed, formerly a member of President Mohamed Waheed’s cabinet and one of the earliest critics of Nasheed’s decision to detain Judge Abdulla, has released a personal memoir explaining her interpretation of Waheed’s ascension to power. The former SAARC Secretary General also alleged that Nasheed’s political rivals had conspired to assassinate him.

Speaking to Minivan News, Saeed confirmed that the High Court had accepted the initial paperwork. However, a final determination to formally accept the case will be made after review of the paperwork.

According to local media, lawyers joining Saeed in the petition include Ishraq Thaufeeg and Aiminath Nazlee, both whom currently represent Saeed’s newly founded law firm, Fanandheeb Chambers.

Speaking to local media outlet Channel News Maldives, Thaufeeg said following legal reviewing of the circumstances, the firm had noticed several legal inconsistencies and lapses that suggested the transfer of power took place illegally.

He also said that public still questions the legitimacy of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s government, and that therefore it was important that a court of law decides on the matter.

Saeed alleged in her memoir that the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7 was the result of a premeditated and well-orchestrated plan, and questioned the findings of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), which had declared that there was no coup and Nasheed had resigned voluntarily.

Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee’s review of of the report revealed several concerns including omission of key evidence and witness statements.

Chair of Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee, MP Ali Waheed, claimed the August 2012 report produced by the CNI was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee.

He added that many interviewed by the committee claimed the CNI report lacked “key information they had given [the CNI panel]” while “others claimed their infmrmation was wrongly presented”.

To support its claims, the parliamentary select committee released audio recordings of all the statements given by the witnesses. These included former police and military chiefs and officers, who claimed that Nasheed had no option but to resign.

Former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel was heard telling the committee that he “fully believed that President Nasheed resigned under duress”.

He added that the circumstances leading up to the resignation of former President gave rise to the fact that resignation was obtained by “illegal coercion”.

Meanwhile former Police Chief Ahmed Faseeh told the committee that police officers who gathered in Republican Square on February 7 had disobeyed orders and their actions were grossly inconsistent with the Police Act, as well as professional standards established within the police.

Former Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Intelligence Head Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam also testified to the committee that Nasheed was ousted in a coup, claiming that events on February 7 fulfilled all the essentials of a coup.

“Academically speaking, the events on February 7 fulfilled all the essentials of a coup. It involved all the features of a coup that are widely accepted around the world. Some of the elements take place before the toppling of a president. Others take place spontaneously,” he said.

Leaked statements given by key witnesses of the events to CNI, also suggested that the transfer of power took place illegitimately.

In the transcript of the statement given to CNI by MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem – the commander of the riot squad of the Bandara Koshi (BK) Battalion on the day – said that he also believed that Nasheed was ousted in a coup.

“In my view this was a coup. Why? I could see it from the way they handled everything, their attitude, how cool and calm all the officers were. I could tell from how cool General Shiyam was inside the MNDF. They did nothing. This is not how a uniformed officer should behave,” he told the CNI.

Meanwhile President Nasheed told the CNI that he was forced to resign, as he believed his life was at stake on February 7 if he did not.

“In essence, my statement is very small. I was forced to resign. I resigned under duress. I was threatened. If I did not resign within a stipulated period it would endanger mine and my family’s life. I understood they were going to harm a number of other citizens, party members. They were going to literally sack the town. I felt that I had no other option, other than to resign,” he said.

On September 2012, following the release of the report, a legal analysis of the CNI’s report by a team of high-profile Sri Lankan legal professionals – including the country’s former Attorney General concluded that the report was “selective”, “flawed”, and “exceeded its mandate”.

“The report offends the fundamental tenets of natural justice, transparency and good governance, including the right to see adverse material, which undermines the salutary tenets of the Rule of Law,” observed the report.

The Sri Lankan legal team also contended that “there is evidence to demonstrate that there was in fact adequate evidence to suggest that duress (or even ‘coercion’ and/ or illegal coercion as used by CNI) is attributable to the resignation of President Nasheed.”

The CNI report dismissed this theory.

“In summary, the commission concludes that there was no illegal coercion or intimidation nor any coup d’état. The commission has received no evidence supporting or to substantiate these allegations. This disposes the main mandate of the Commission,”


Allegations of assassination plot “realistic”: former President Nasheed

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has said he believes allegations made in a personal memoir by former Human Rights Minister Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed of a plot to assassinate him are “realistic”.

In an exclusive interview with Minivan News, Nasheed said he hoped the allegations would prompt a thorough criminal investigation either from parliament or other institutions.

“I see Dhiyana Saeed’s allegations as realistic. I hope that the parliament and other institutions would conduct a thorough criminal investigation. Even the CNI [Commission of National Inquiry] report as well highlights the need for such an investigation,” he said.

The memoir, which the former SAARC Secretary General shared with Minivan News, levelled serious allegations against then opposition figures, who Saeed claimed had plotted Nasheed’s fall and conspired to assassinate him.

On the allegations of threats to his life, Nasheed said he had received information from government intelligence sources of plots to assassinate him.

“I did get information from the Ministry of Defence that the intelligence got reports of planned assassination attempts. I had knowledge of this before,” he revealed.

In her memoir, Dhiyana claimed that the notion of “taking out” the former president came up during a conversation she had with a friend and a “long-standing political affiliate” whom she referred as “X”.

Asked whether he knew the identity of X, Nasheed refused to speculate.

“I don’t personally know that person. It would not be very good for me to name the person before a proper investigation. But I too have got information,” he said.

Nasheed added that resigning from the presidency had not put an end to death threats.

“Yes, I do [get threats of assassination], quite a lot actually,” he said.

Dhiyana alleged in her memoir that the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7 was the result of a premeditated and well-orchestrated plan and questioned the findings of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).

Nasheed reiterated his belief that the accusations were accurate, in line with concerns he himself had previously raised over the findings of the CNI’s report.

“After the coup, I was seeing very dirty dealings within the government. According to information I get, even now, affairs of government are being carried out in an irregular mafia style. I don’t see things happening according to government procedures,” he claimed.


Nasheed also dismissed allegations by current Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim that the former President had pressured his representative on the CNI, Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed, to influence the outcome of the inquiry.

“I did not even once call Ahmed Saeed. Not even once I called. I don’t really know how the procedure had gone from the government side,” he claimed.

Dhiyana Saeed also alleged that Defence Minister Nazim had admitted to “bugging” the office of the CNI panel in which witness testimonies were recorded.

However, Nazim dismissed the allegations in local media yesterday.

Nasheed claimed that he too had been told of the alleged surveillance measures by the government during the time the CNI was conducting its inquiry.

Nasheed was however reluctant to comment accusations Saeed had made regarding for Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu’s alleged role in the controversial transfer of power on February 7.  He insisted that it was not proper to accuse someone without a thorough investigation.

The former President however reiterated his allegation that his former deputy, current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, had been plotting his downfall for some time before February 7.

Asked why he had not taken any action taken to investigate allegations against the then-Vice President, Nasheed accused the country’s judiciary of being flawed and politicised, preventing his government from conducting an investigation.

“I was getting information that [President] Waheed was plotting something like this. Due to the way the courts were functioning, the government were unable to conduct necessary criminal investigations,” he explained.

On Dhiyana’s suggestion that only an international criminal investigation that was “independent, impartial and comprehensive” could uncover the truth, Nasheed said he doubted a positive outcome from international intervention.

“I now have a very dim view towards international community. I don’t think there is a UN resolve or an imagination in doing something good and proactive to help a country move forward. I don’t think such a vision is anymore the vision of the UN,” Nasheed claimed.


The former President has recently called for an Egyptian-style “popular uprising” to topple the “coup regime”.

“Our party now sees no other change other than a revolutionary change. We could not fire the imagination of the international community to bring an institutional change, a structural change. Their lethargy and their all time need to maintain the status-quo means we cannot bring reform to this country. So the way we see it, the best thing for the country is a revolutionary change,” he said.

Presidents Office Media Secretary Masood Imad said that he “did not wish to comment on what Nasheed had to say,” when contacted yesterday.

While Dhiyana in her memoir concurred with the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP’s) insistence that Nasheed’s resignation was made “under duress” to avoid bloodshed in the capital, she stopped short of characterising the transfer of power as a “coup d’etat.”

“I weighed all this together and I could not ignore the logical conclusion – that key players had engineered and orchestrated the events, that President Nasheed had not resigned voluntarily as he asserted and that Waheed was possibly complicit. I believe further, that had President Nasheed not resigned ‘voluntarily’ that day he would have been killed in a way that would not be apparent as a killing – perhaps ‘accidentally’ in a cross-fire in the MNDF or at the hands of the enraged public in the manner of Amin Didi, the first President of the Republic,” Dhiyana concluded in her memoir.