Two judges in ex-president’s terrorism trial appointed to high court

Two criminal court judges who sentenced ex-president Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail in a widely criticised trial have been appointed to the High Court today.

Judges Abdulla Didi and Sujau Usman took the oath of office at a surprise ceremony at the Supreme Court this morning.

Two seats on the nine-member bench have been vacant since the high court’s chief judge was demoted to the juvenile court in August, and another judge retired in February this year.

The appointment of new judges was stalled when the high court in October last year said the evaluation criteria was flawed.

But the Supreme Court on May 28 overturned the ruling, paving the way for Didi and Usman’s appointment.

The third judge in Nasheed’s terrorism trial was Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf. He was awarded a discounted flat in a newly built luxury apartment complex in Malé.

The former chief judge Ahmed Shareef was suspended in 2013, shortly after the high court suspended court proceedings against Nasheed on charges of arbitrarily detaining a judge during his tenure. The high court was reviewing the composition of the bench overseeing the trial.

The Prosecutor General’s Office in February withdrew the lesser charges of arbitrary detention and filed new terrorism charges against Nasheed at the criminal court.

Evaluation criteria

The high court, in an October 2014 ruling, ruled that the criteria on evaluating a candidate’s educational qualification and experience was flawed and ordered the Judicial Services Commission to amend the criteria.

The 100-point mark sheet awarded 35 points for education, 30 points for experience, 10 points for ethical conduct and 25 points for an interview.

All candidates were to be put to a secret vote in the order of the candidates who received the highest points. The first candidates who received a majority in the vote would be appointed.

In evaluating the educational qualifications, a candidate with a degree in Islamic Shariah or a degree in common law would receive 20 points. But a candidate with a combined degree in Islamic Shariah and common law would receive 25 points.

Candidates with a masters or a doctoral degree would receive an additional five points each.

The criteria appeared to grade candidates on the title of their degrees, the high court said. For example, an individual who had a degree in common law may have done the same number of modules on Islamic Shariah as a candidate who had a combined degree in Islamic Shariah and common law.

The high court noted an individual who had done a degree in common law or Islamic Shariah, and held a masters, would receive 25 points, the same as an individual who had just done a degree in Islamic Shariah and common law.

The evaluation criteria for qualification awarded 30 points for ten years of experience as a judge, meaning it did not differentiate between candidates who had served as a judge for ten years or 20 years.

The appellate court said judges must be awarded points proportionate to the number of years they had served as judges.

The high court also ruled that the JSC cannot hold a secret vote to select candidates arguing the procedure was not transparent.

The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the high court’s ruling

Flawed trial

Foreign governments and international bodies have expressed concern over Nasheed’s 19-day trial, noting he was not given adequate time to prepare defense, barred from calling defense witnesses, and at times, denied legal representation.

The UN special rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul said: “The speed of the proceedings combined with the lack of fairness in the procedures lead me to believe the outcome of the trial may have been pre-determined.”

Amnesty International said Nasheed’s sentencing “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

The three judges who oversaw Nasheed’s trial also sentenced ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim to 11 years in jail in a weapons smuggling charge.

The retired colonel said the weapons were planted at his home by rogue police officers on the orders of Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Adeeb has denied the allegations.

Despite growing calls for Nasheed and Nazim’s release, President Abdulla Yameen said he has no constitutional authority to release the pair.

Nazim’s appeal at the high court is scheduled to begin on June 21.

Nasheed was unable to file an appeal after the criminal court delayed releasing required case documents within the shortened ten-day appeal period.

The government insists Nasheed can still file an appeal, but his lawyers say the law is silent on late appeals.

They argue that the Supreme Court in January has removed the high court’s discretionary powers to accept late appeals in the ruling that had shortened the 90-day appeal period to ten days.

Photo by Raajje TV


Criminal court releases murder suspect

The criminal court has released a defendant on trial for the murder of 16-year-old Mohamed Arham in May 2012 from police custody.

According to local media, the case was transferred from judge Muhthaz Fahmy to judge Abdulla Didi last week.

Judge Didi reportedly ordered the release of Athif Rasheed, from Maafanu Scenery View in Malé, after a hearing of the murder trial today.

Arham, a grade nine student at the Dharumavantha School, was found dead in the Lorenzo park in Malé on May 30, 2012. He died of multiple stab wounds to the neck, back, and chest.

Rasheed was charged with murder along with three other suspects and had been kept in pre-trial detention since his arrest. The trial began in November 2012.


Judicial watchdog criticised over 12-member trip to Thinadhoo

A former member of the judicial watchdog has called a 12-member trip to the south for training purposes “unnecessary and for personal interests.”

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) team, which includes six commission members and a criminal court, Judge Abdulla Didi, left to Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo on Wednesday for a training session for magistrates and to investigate several cases, a JSC official said.

The total number of people in the delegation is nine, the JSC has said. But the Thinadhoo council confirmed that a total of 12 people with the JSC delegation met with the council yesterday.

A former JSC member, Shuaib Abdul Rahman, said the commission’s decision to leave Malé with a 12-member delegation despite hundreds of pending cases was “unacceptable.”

“A substantive number of people are saying the criminal court has handed out unfair verdicts [against ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim],” he said.

“The commission has the power to investigate issues on their own initiative. So ignoring what is important and leaving with a 12 member team to an atoll is unacceptable.”

The criminal court has been criticised for lack of due process in the sentencing of Nasheed to 13 years in jail and Nazim to 11 years in jail on terrorism and illegal weapons charges, respectively.

In 2014, the JSC conducted four trips to the atolls to present appointment letters to magistrates. Members also went on two international trips to Zambia and China.

Shuaib said only one or two members were sent to the atolls for investigation during his term at the JSC.

“It is totally unnecessary to put together a team that large. This probably includes personal interests,” he said.

JSC’s media officer Hassan Zaheen dismissed the criticism and said: “The commission is conducting training programs to magistrates about some criminal proceedings.”

He also defended Judge Didi’s presence on the training trip, saying “Judge Didi was a former member and a Criminal Court Judge. I see him to be fit for the purpose and there are no legal barriers.”

Didi was the presiding judge in Nasheed’s trial, and sat on the three-member panel in Nazim’s trial.

The judicial watchdog, formed in 2008, has 111 cases pending, a majority of which relates to the integrity of judges. Complaints over criminal court Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s misconduct and an alleged sex scandal of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed are still pending.

Hameed was recently appointed as the president of the JSC.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has accused the JSC of failing to fulfil its mandate of ensuring ethical conduct among judges.


Judge Abdulla suspected of involvement in “contract killing,” says Nasheed

Police suspected Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s involvement in a “contract killing” after he released a murder suspect, alleges the closing statement prepared by former President Mohamed Nasheed for his trial on terrorism charges.

The office of the former president released the statement (Dhivehi) yesterday, noting that Nasheed was unable to complete it ahead of the final hearing on Friday (March 13), where he was found guilty of ordering the arrest of Judge Abdulla in January 2012 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Nasheed stated that he had been “continuously receiving complaints” regarding the chief judge from both his home minister and the commissioner of police.

“The latest incident I was informed of was a very tragic incident. It was reported that after Judge Abdulla released a murder suspect from detention, claiming the hospital had not submitted a document related to the case, the man went on to commit another murder,” Nasheed stated.

“Both the police and home minister characterised the incident as a direct contract killing.”

Nasheed alleged that the role assigned for Judge Abdulla under the contract was releasing the murder suspect.

“While other murder suspects are kept in detention until the conclusion of trial, the police institution believed the suspect in this case was released for that purpose and informed me thus,” the statement added.

“Contract killing”

The alleged “contract killing” Nasheed referred to involved Ibrahim Shahum Adam, who was released by Judge Abdulla on February 17, 2011 to “hold the health minister accountable” for the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s failure to provide a medical report to the police.

Shahum was brought before the judge for extension of remand detention.

Following his release in February 2011, Shahum allegedly stabbed 21-year-old Ahusan Basheer to death on March 16. Police launched a manhunt the following day and took him into custody from an uninhabited island.

Shahum had been arrested in August 2010 for the murder of 17-year-old Mohamed Hussain in Malé. In March 2013, he was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In October last year, Shahum escaped from Maafushi jail along with another convict and was apprehended from a guesthouse in Malé six days later.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) advised MPs to stay in at night following the jailbreak.

The following month, the Criminal Court found Shahum not guilty of murdering Ahusan Basheer.

Delivering the verdict on November 20, Judge Abdulla Didi – who also presided over Nasheed’s terrorism trial – stated that Islamic Sharia requires the eyewitness testimony of two males to prove guilt in murder cases.

The state had presented one eyewitnesses to the assault and three witnesses who claimed to have heard the victim saying before he died that Shahum stabbed him.

“National security threat”

In July 2010, then-deputy police commissioner accused the chief judge of obstructing “high-profile corruption investigations” after Judge Abdulla suspended two police lawyers on “ethical grounds.”

After Judge Abdulla was taken into military custody on January 16, 2012, then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef said the chief judge was deemed a national security threat and listed 14 cases of obstruction of justice, including shielding officials of the former regime from human rights and corruption cases.

Afeef contended that the chief judge had taken “the entire criminal justice system in his fist” and alleged that the judge actively undermined cases against drug trafficking suspects and had allowed them opportunity to “fabricate false evidence after hearings had concluded”.

In his closing statement, Nasheed said he asked the police to investigate the chief judge in accordance with the law.

“After the police failed to summon Judge Abdulla for questioning, and after continuing the investigation as far as possible without questioning him, police found that Judge Abdulla constituted a threat to national security,” Nasheed explained.

“When informed of this, I ordered the home minister to take all measures necessary to safeguard the nation from this threat. I did not give directions at any time to any party, to complete a specific task in a specific manner or to take any specific measures.”

Nasheed insisted that he never ordered the police or military to arrest the judge and hold him under military custody, noting that none of the prosecution witnesses testified to any such verbal or written order.

On the day of his arrest, police summoned the chief judge for questioning. However, the High Court quashed the summons in an unprecedented move after Judge Abdulla challenged its legality.

Nasheed also referred to numerous complaints against the chief judge submitted to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which in November 2011 found him guilty of ethical misconduct after he made political statements in the media.

However, the Civil Court issued a stay order halting disciplinary action against the judge by the judicial watchdog or oversight body.

Related to this story

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Nasheed wishes mercy for his jailers: “In this time of profound injustice, I harbour no hatred.”

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, sentenced to 13 years in jail in a trial many observers have called a travesty of justice, has issued a statement wishing mercy on his jailers.

“In this time of profound injustice, I harbour no hatred. And to those who seek to destroy me, I say: I wish upon you good grace and blessings,” the opposition leader said last night.

Nasheed was convicted of ordering the January 2012 military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have expressed concern with the lack of due process, while Amnesty International said Nasheed’s sentencing “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

The Criminal Court denied Nasheed bail on February 23 at a first hearing without legal representation. The three-judge panel at subsequent hearings dismissed Nasheed’s repeated requests for additional time to prepare a defence and refused to call the defence’s witnesses claiming they do not appear to negate the prosecution’s evidence.

The three-judge panel also included two judges who had acted as witnesses in an earlier investigation into Judge Abdulla’s arrest.

In his statement, Nasheed called for mass protests against President Abdulla Yameen’s regime and appealed to supporters to remain courageous and strong.

“The Maldivian judiciary is full of corruption and disgrace. Judges are routinely accepting the vile money of bribery. These judges have no fear of the day of judgment, and no shame in this world. The consequence of their actions is injustice to the public and the thwarting of this country’s development,” the former president said.

Nasheed was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president.

“Why am I calling for such a sacrifice? Know this for sure: it is not for my own well being . I am not staying in jail, a captive, because I have no way out. I could easily secure my freedom and happiness by agreeing to stop the work I am doing, and falling at President Yameen’s feet. I could choose to live in riches, in comfort, and in joy. But if I choose that path, Maldivians will reach a tragic end. Maldivians will be deprived of what they rightfully deserve: freedom, dignity and democracy. They will never be allowed to stand tall. Forever, they will be forced to cower before this dictatorial regime.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked 22 consecutive nights of violent anti-government demonstrations that culminated in a police and military mutiny on the morning of February 7, 2012, forcing Nasheed to resign in what he subsequently called a “coup d’etat.”

Delivering the guilty verdict, Judge Abdulla Didi said the prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed as commander-in-chief ordered the arrest or “forceful abduction” of Judge Abdulla.

When provided with the opportunity to present concluding statements at an initial hearing at 9:15pm, Nasheed once again asked for legal counsel and additional time.

“My incarceration in Dhoonidhoo Jail prevents me from communicating with my lawyers. They are unable to provide me with the legal counsel I require. They were not provided with the prosecution’s evidence for review, adequate means for communication, or internet services. There were no arrangements for us to sit together to prepare legal documents,” he told the court.

“My lawyers quit, because they were unable to afford me the legal counsel necessary for a free and fair trial. They quit stating that the three of you judges are unjust in how you conduct this trial. In this situation, I am unable to prepare concluding statements. I can only prepare such a statement only when I am freed from this situation, if I am transferred to Malé and given sufficient time for preparation.”

However, reading out the guilty verdict at 11:15pm, presiding Judge Abdulla Didi insisted Nasheed had been afforded adequate to prepare defence, arguing case documents had been provided three years ago when the former president was initially charged.

Nasheed was first charged in 2012 with arbitrary detention under article 81 of the penal code, which carries either banishment or a jail term of up to three years.

On February 15, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin withdrew the charges filed at the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court. Nasheed was arrested on February 22 shortly after the PG filed terrorism charges at the Criminal Court.

Judge Didi also said Nasheed had refused to make use of a phone call to appoint new lawyers when all four of his lawyers quit.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali today said the government will ensure former President Mohamed Nasheed’s right to appeal his conviction on terrorism charges if he believes the Criminal Court did not follow due process.

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“This is not a court of law. This is injustice,” Nasheed tells the Criminal Court


Nasheed contests credibility of police and military witnesses in terrorism trial

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has contested the credibility of police and military officers as state witnesses in a terrorism trial over the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked 22 consecutive nights of violent anti-government demonstrations that culminated in a police and military mutiny on the morning of February 7, 2012, forcing President Nasheed to resign in what he subsequently called a “coup d’etat.”

The opposition leader, who has denied ordering the arrest of Judge Abdulla, contended the role of the police and military officers in his February 2012 ouster and Judge Abdulla’s arrest raised questions over their credibility.

Chief Inspectors of Police Ahmed Shakir and Mohamed Jamsheed testified at a third hearing last night, and claimed Nasheed —in a meeting with senior police officers on January 18— had said he would not allow Judge Abdulla within 100 feet of the courthouse.

The Criminal Court blocked Nasheed’s lawyers’ attempts to determine credibility of witnesses, at times ordering lawyers to focus on the content of the statement rather than the identity of the witness or the level of their involvement in the events of February 7.

Presiding Judge Abdulla Didi said judges would decide how much weight each witnesses’ statement would carry.

The three judge panel—Didi, Abdul Bari Yoosuf and Sujau Usman—also refused to revise its ruling to keep Nasheed in police custody until the end of the trial.


Shakir told the court Nasheed in the January 2012 meeting had said Judge Abdulla was destroying the criminal justice system, and undermining the judicial watchdog Judicial Services Commission (JSC) by disobeying its orders, and would bar him from within 100 meters of the courthouse.

A visibly nervous Jamsheed, however, first said he had also heard Nasheed say he would order the arrest of Judge Abdulla at the meeting with police officers.

When Nasheed’s lawyers pointed out the January 18 meeting had taken place after the judge’s arrest, Jamsheed said he had heard Nasheed say the judge must be isolated.

Lawyer Abdulla Shaairu then questioned Jamsheed on his whereabouts on February 7, whether he had been active inside or outside the police head quarters, and when he had received a promotion from Inspector to Chief Inspector.

When state prosecutors objected to the questions, Shaairu said the defence must determine if witnesses had any animosity towards Nasheed, given their role in the events leading up to his resignation.

Judge Yoosuf then directly asked Jamsheed whether he harboured any animosity towards Nasheed, and defence lawyers immediately objected to the bench’s questions, saying judges were “putting words in the witnesses’ mouths.”

Judge Didi dismissed the defence’s claim, saying judges regularly posed questions to witnesses.


Lawyer Ibrahim Riffath appealed to judges to release Nasheed from detention, stating the High Court had rejected the former president’s appeal of the Criminal Court’s decision to deny him bail.

Despite lawyer’s assurances to the contrary, the Criminal Court said they feared Nasheed may abscond from trial and rejected the request.

Nasheed was denied legal representation during his first hearing. He was arrested on February 22, and his trial under new charges of ‘terrorism’ began the next day.

Speaking to the press outside, lawyer Hisaan Hussain said the High Court threw the appeal out, claiming the Criminal Court’s detention ruling was in fact a court summons.

In a statement before the trial began, the lawyers expressed concern over inadequate time to prepare their case. In a March 2 hearing, the legal team requested 30 days to mount a credible defence, but judges gave them one day.

The Criminal Court, however, has argued Nasheed’s team has had case documents for three years, as the new terrorism charges are based on the same documents as a previous arbitrary detention charge, now withdrawn.

The statement also noted the judges’ refusal to withdraw from the bench on the March 2 hearing, despite their involvement on the scene during Judge Abdulla’s arrest and involvement as witnesses during the police and Human Rights Commission investigation.

The next hearing is to be held at 9pm tonight.

Related to this story

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Former chief of defence forces denies involvement in Judge Abdulla arrest

Defence Minister Major General (Retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel has denied any involvement as then-chief of defence forces in the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

At the second hearing of his trial on terrorism charges last night, Jaleel repeatedly said he neither received nor gave any orders to arrest the judge.

Prior to the judge’s arrest on January 16, then-Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfan took over many responsibilities of the highest-ranking commander, Jaleel explained, which he contended was against the Armed Forces Act.

Jaleel had told parliament’s Government Oversight Committee in January 2013 that Tholhath usurped the army chief’s powers through a strategic defence directive (SDD), which required area commanders to answer directly to the defence minister.

Jaleel’s lawyer, Adam Asif, said Tholhath informed the chief of defence forces of the operation – dubbed ‘Liberty Shield’ – to take the judge into military custody on the night of January 16, adding that Jaleel had told the defence minister that it should not be done without a Supreme Court order.

Tholhath and then-Malé Area Commander Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi – currently opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP for mid-Hithadhoo constituency – was in charge of the operation, Jaleel said.

The pair are also on trial on terrorism charges along with former President Mohamed Nasheed and Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Ziyad.

All five defendants have pleaded not guilty to the terrorism charges. The charges were filed under Article 2(b) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990, which criminalises kidnappings and abductions and carries a jail term of between 10 to 15 years.

President Abdulla Yameen appointed Jaleel to the cabinet on January 20 shortly after sacking former Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim. Jaleel joined the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives in January 2014 and was subsequently appointed Maldives Ambassador to Pakistan.

At last night’s hearing, Jaleel repeatedly said the chief of defence forces had been reduced to a “ceremonial” official by Tholhath and that he was not consulted over the judge’s arrest.

However, Jaleel said he participated in meetings between the heads of the police and military to discuss challenges posed to law enforcement and domestic security by the Criminal Court’s alleged release of dangerous criminals and refusal to grant search and arrest warrants to police.

Jaleel said he also attended a meeting to discuss the issue with the Supreme Court bench.

However, Jaleel stressed that arresting the chief judge of the Criminal Court was not raised during any of the meetings.

In a back and forth between the prosecution and defence, State Prosecutor Aishath Fazna questioned whether the chief of defence forces was fulfilling his responsibility if he had been unaware of the impending arrest of the judge.

State prosecutors then submitted evidence against Jaleel, including a video of Judge Abdulla’s arrest and audio clips of public remarks by Nasheed at political rallies.

Senior officers of the police and military as well as former Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh were named among state witnesses, whom prosecutors asked to be summoned to court.

Jaleel also named six witnesses, including senior police officers and soldiers involved in the operation to arrest the chief judge, who he said would testify to the army chief’s non-involvement.

Adjourning the hearing, Judge Abdulla Didi said testimony of state witnesses would be heard at the next trial date.

Along with Judge Didi, the three-judge panel of the Criminal Court is comprised of Judge Abdul Bari Yousuf and Judge Shujau Usman.

Meanwhile, at hearings of the trials of MP Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Ziyad – conducted separately last night – Judge Didi gave the pair three additional days to prepare their defence.

While Nasheed’s lawyers have named Judges Didi and Bari as witnesses – noting the pair’s presence at Judge Abdulla’s residence during the arrest – Judge Didi asked the defence lawyer not to name any judge on the bench as witnesses.

Judge Didi said the bench would not accept any of the judges as witnesses.

The third hearing of Nasheed’s trial has been scheduled for 8:00pm tomorrow night (March 2).

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Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has denied ordering Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s arrest at the second hearing of a surprise terrorism trial.

“As President of the Maldives, I did not order any harm unto or the arrest of any citizen,” the opposition leader told the Criminal Court tonight.

“These are politically motivated charges, an atrocity planned and carried out by the government,” he said.

Nasheed said he had no hope of a free and fair trial, noting that the Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin and two of the three judges presiding over his trial were among the state’s witnesses.

Addressing Judges Abdulla Didi and Abdul Bari Yoosuf, Nasheed said: “You saw this very closely. You are his [Judge Abdulla’s] colleagues. I do not see how you, by the Islamic Shari’ah, Maldivian laws and international laws, could deliver an impartial verdict.”

Tonight’s hearing ended with the Criminal Court granting Nasheed three extra days to prepare his defence, after his lawyers claimed they had not had adequate time to research and review the state’s charges and evidence.

The opposition leader was arrested on Sunday ahead of a surprise hearing on terrorism the next day. The Criminal Court had denied him legal representation at the time and ruled he be kept in police custody until the end of the trial.

“Politically motivated atrocity”

Before the hearing began, Nasheed and his four-member legal team complained over seating arrangements which separated the former president from his lawyers. The former president requested to be seated among his lawyers to be allowed to confer with them easily.

The three-judge panel refused to change the setup, but did allow lawyers to approach the defence stand and consult with Nasheed throughout the trial.

In his opening remarks, Nasheed pointed out PG Muhthaz Muhsin, a former Criminal Court judge, was Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s colleague. Muhsin had withdrawn lesser charges submitted by former  PG Ahmed Muizz and asked Nasheed be prosecuted under a harsher terror law.

Nasheed is now being tried under the 1990 Anti Terrorism Act, which considers abductions, kidnapping and attempts to do so as acts of terror.

Muhsin’s decision to re-prosecute demonstrated the political nature of the charges, Nasheed contended.

The PG raises criminal charges on behalf of the public to ensure public safety, Nasheed continued, stating: “Public support for me during the presidential elections, 49 percent, demonstrate they do not view me as a terrorist.”

“My concern is not on damages I would be caused, but on the dark shadow [this trial] would cast on Maldives’ future,” he added.

Noting the Criminal Court had denied him legal representation at a first hearing, and ruled he be held in pre-trial detention, Nasheed said: “What I’m seeing is that you are unable to or face great difficulty in ensuring a fair trial.”

The three judges did not respond to Nasheed’s statements, and upon his request asked lawyers to proceed with his defence.

Lawyer Abdulla Shaairu then held up a thick sheaf of papers and said the legal team had not had adequate time to prepare a defence. In the three days granted previously, lawyers were only able to skim through documents and needed more time to clarify the exact nature of charges, he added.

Judge Didi agreed, and adjourned the hearing. Judge Sujau Usman is the third member of the Criminal Court panel.

In a statement earlier this week, PG Muhsin said there were no legal obstacles to pressing terrorism charges. Meanwhile, the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) insists it has no influence over the independent PG and independent courts.

Nasheed’s trial demonstrates “no one is above the law,” PPM MPs have claimed.

Judge Mohamed’s detention in January 2012 triggered three weeks of nightly protests, culminating in a police and army mutiny forcing Nasheed’s resignation.


Nasheed appeared in court on Monday with his arm in a makeshift sling after a scuffle in which police manhandled the former president as he attempted to speak with journalists outside the Justice Building.

The EU, UN, Commonwealth, US, India, Canada and UK have expressed concern over Nasheed’s arrest, subsequent terrorism charges and denial of legal representation.

Current Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel, then-Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim, MDP MP and retired Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and retired Colonel Mohamed Ziyad are also facing terrorism charges over the judge’s detention.

All have pleaded not guilty to charges.

On Tuesday, Nasheed’s lawyers named presiding Judges Abdulla Didi and Abdul Bari Yoosuf as witnesses, noting the pair had been present with Judge Mohamed at the time of his arrest, and requested they withdraw from the bench.

Nasheed’s trial comes shortly after the MDP and former ruling coalition partner Jumhooree Party allied against what they call President Abdulla Yameen’s repeated violations of the constitution.

The allied opposition parties have planned mass demonstrations for tomorrow (February 27) and have pledged to topple Yameen’s administration.

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Nasheed’s lawyers name Judges Didi, Yoosuf as witnesses, request their withdrawal from terrorism trial

Additional reporting by Mohamed Saif Fathih and Ismail Humaam Hamid

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyers have named two of the three judges overseeing the opposition leader’s terrorism trial as witnesses, and requested the pair to excuse themselves from the bench.

In a letter to the Criminal Court today, lawyer Hassan Latheef asked Judge Abdulla Didi and Abdul Bari Yoosuf to step down, noting that the two were present with Judge Abdulla Mohamed at his residence during his arrest by the military.

The two judges witnessed the conversation between Judge Abdulla Mohamed and military officers, and could testify he had not been kidnapped as charged by the Prosecutor General, Latheef contended.

Nasheed is being prosecuted for the judge’s detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990, which criminalises kidnappings and abductions. The offence carries a jail term between 10 and 15 years.

At a first hearing yesterday, Judge Abdulla Didi gave Nasheed three days to appoint a lawyer and answer charges. The former president is to be kept in police custody until the end of the trial.

Speaking to Minivan News, Nasheed’s lawyers continued to express concern over bureaucratic delays in both appealing the Criminal Court’s arrest warrant and registering to represent him at the next hearing on Thursday.

The Commonwealth, India, US, and Canada have expressed concern over the former president’s arrest and denial of right to legal counsel and appeal.

Medical attention

A police spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News that Nasheed was brought to Malé at 2:20pm today for medical attention upon his request. But neither his lawyers nor his family were informed. 

Nasheed limped into the courtroom yesterday using his tie as a makeshift sling for his arm. He claimed police officers had broken his arm and repeatedly asked for immediate medical attention.

The Maldives Police Services’ Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed denied allegations of police brutality last night, claiming Nasheed had staged his own fall.

Rasheed said Nasheed’s fingers and arms were not hurt according to doctors at the Dhoonidhoo Island Detention Center.

Nasheed’s legal team said they are not certain if police had arranged for an x-ray as advised by the doctor.

A police spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, stating: “medical assistance and attention will be given to all detainees under police custody.”

Nasheed’s lawyers have now requested Home Minister Umar Naseer to transfer him to house arrest.

“We are extremely concerned about the safety and security of President Nasheed, especially after what we saw yesterday in front of the court house. The police brutalised President Nasheed in front of the press and he is physically hurt,” Latheef said.

Judge Didi ordered the police to provide Nasheed appropriate medical care while he remains in custody.

Appeal delayed

Lawyers were unable to appeal the Criminal Court issued arrest warrant today as the forms required Nasheed’s signatures and had to be submitted to the Criminal Court before noon.

New appeal regulations state appeals of any court ruling must be first submitted to the court responsible for issuing the ruling. The court would then forward the forms to the appellate court.

Nasheed’s five-member legal team attempted to file an appeal on Monday, but were unable to do so due to the Criminal Court’s failure to provide the forms.

Lawyers said the Supreme Court’s new regulations impede the right to appeal as enshrined in the constitution.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has meanwhile requested the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) to investigate the police’s treatment of the former president, his arrest and proceedings of the terrorism trial.

HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoud confirmed the commission’s staff had visited the former president at Dhoonidhoo last night, but declined to give further details.

In a statement condemning the police’s unlawful use of force yesterday, the HRCM also called on the police to provide Nasheed with medical attention immediately and ensure he is afforded all constitutional rights.

The Police Integrity Commission was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Speaking to Minivan News, a spokesperson from the Prosecutor General’s Office today insisted the office was following due process in charging Nasheed with terrorism.

The PG’s office had initially charged Nasheed with arbitrary detention under the soon to be outdated Penal Code, but withdrew charges on February 15 for further review.

A statement issued on Sunday said Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin had decided “the best way [forward] in this case is to change the charges raised against Mohamed Nasheed and the court in which it was filed”.

“Therefore, as the case against Mohamed Nasheed is in the court process, we note that it is not desirable for politicians, some members of the public, political parties, and some media to talk in a way that both creates anxiety among the public about verdicts issued by courts and causes loss of confidence in independent institutions created by the constitution,” read the statement.

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