Former President Nasheed asks High Court to expedite case concerning Hulhumale’ magistrate court bench

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has asked the High Court to expedite the case filed by his legal team challenging the legitimacy of Hulhumale’ magistrate court’s bench.

Speaking to Minivan News today, former Human Resource Minister Hassan Latheef – a member of Nasheed’s legal team – said that the case has remained stalled at the High Court for over a year now.

“We filed the case at the High Court after we noticed that there were many issues regarding how the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has composed the bench,” Latheef explained.

“For one thing, the JSC does not have to bring selected judges from throughout the country and compose a bench to conduct the trial of a specific individual, that is not the normal procedure.”

The original case filed at the Hulhumale’ court – concerning the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012 – needed to be concluded soon because former President Nasheed did not wish to have pending criminal charges, Latheef said.

“But the case at the Hulhumale’ Court can only be continued when the High Court concludes this case we have filed at the High Court,” he noted.

“’When we filed the case at the High Court, on April 1, 2013 the court issued an injunction ordering Hulhumale’ court to halt the trial against Nasheed until the court concluded the case we have filed.”

The case filed by Nasheed’s legal team challenging the legality of the magistrate court bench was stalled after the JSC suspended the former High Court Chief Judge – who was presiding over the case – pending an investigation over a disciplinary matter.

During the hearings held at the High Court, the JSC contended that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the case as the panel of judges presiding over Nasheed’s trial was appointed based on counsel from the Supreme Court

Nasheed said at the time that he was  “prepared” to justify the reasons for the arrest of Judge Abdulla, and said he was ready to appear in court to defend the decision.

Nasheed also dismissed accusations of the High Court, the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general that he had ordered the military to arrest Judge Abdulla unlawfully.

“I did nothing unlawful during my tenure,” he insisted.

Nasheed also urged the public to attend the trial and witness proceedings, alleging that the case was politically motivated.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked three weeks of anti-government protests in January, leading the Nasheed administration to appeal for international assistance from the Commonwealth and UN to reform the judiciary.