The People’s Majilis’ government oversight committee has approved Major General (retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel as Defense Minister, despite pending terrorism charges at the Criminal Court.
Five ruling coalition MPs voted in favor. Opposition MPs and one ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP voted against the retired general.
“I refuse to vote for him because there are serious accusations against him. It is not right to approve him with all of these accusations,” said PPM MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed.
Jaleel was charged with terrorism along with former President Mohamed Nasheed for the military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012.
On March 13, Nasheed was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
President Abdulla Yameen appointed Jaleel as Defense Minister after dismissing Retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim from the position on January 20.
Nazim is currently standing trial for smuggling illegal weapons following the police’s controversial discovery of a gun and three bullets during a midnight raid on January 18.
Jaleel has previously participated in a rally demanding a speedy verdict for Nasheed.
The Criminal Court has scheduled a hearing for Jaleel tomorrow night (March 16) at 8.00 pm.
The Attorney General’s (AG) office has said Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel can not be held individually responsible for the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
The AG had appealed the Criminal Court summons of Jaleel, who never appeared as per the court’s original summons.
Presenting the AG’s appeal at the High Court Deputy Solicitor General Ahmed Usham reminded those present that Judge Abdulla’s lawyers had filed the case against Jaleel at the Criminal Court, citing the judge’s arrest by Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on the request of Maldives Police Service, local media reports.
Usham contended that the decision to arrest the judge was made by MNDF, which therefore should be summoned to the court. As Chief of Defence Force, Jaleel cannot be summoned over a case with which he has no direct affiliation.
Usham said the Attorney General’s office would represent the MNDF at court in the event that it is summoned.
When asked to specify the reasons why the Chief of Defence Force could not be summoned to court over the matter, Usham referred the court to the AG’s office.
Observing that the constitution requires every person and institution to comply with court orders, the court next inquired why Jaleel had not presented himself at the Criminal Court.
Usham responded that the High Court had issued a counter-stay order.
According to local media, the court will announce its verdict at the next hearing.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Mohamed Faseeh has also been prevented from appearing at the Criminal Court by a counter stay order on appeal at the High Court.