JSC defends handling of judge investigations in face of criticism

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has maintained that it is following procedures in ongoing investigations, after criticism from both President Abdulla Yameen and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

President Yameen has called on the JSC to expedite disciplinary cases against judges, specifically highlighting the case against the Chief Judge of the High Court Ahmed Shareef.

“It is now exceeding over a year since the case was submitted. [Judge Shareef] is not required to report to work, he is under suspension. However, he is still getting paid. How can we accept this?” Yameen said earlier this week in Addu atoll.

Meanwhile, the MDP yesterday released a statement expressing concern about the delays in pursuing the cases against Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed, following the police’s recent announcement that investigations into Hameed’s alleged appearance in a series of sex tapes had been suspended.

JSC Spokesperson Hassan Zaheen told Minivan News that the commission was currently working on both cases.

“We are continuing to work in the investigation process of the case against Judge Ahmed Shareef,” he explained.

“Even in Judge Ali Hameed’s case, the JSC is doing what is necessary in the investigation stages. We are doing what is required of the JSC. It is none of our concern that the police have decided to file the matter,” he said.

He refused to comment further on the criticism levied against the commission.

Commission criticism

Speaking in Addu, Yameen highlighted the importance of JSC members being independent and able to review cases justly.

Adding that the law does not allow for any persons to be “kidnapped” or kept under forceful banishment, the president stated that “it is a deeply saddening journey to be forced to stay away from one’s job for 12 months and still continue to be paid”.

A High Court Judge is entitled to monthly pay and allowances summing up to MVR56,300 (US$3,651). Judge Ahmed Shareef continues to receive the full salary despite his suspension.

Shareef’s suspension came as he presided over a legal challenge to the legitimacy of the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court bench, which was handpicked by the JSC to oversee the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed for the January 2012 detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Judge Ahmed Shareef was suspended by the JSC in May last year, more than 12 months after the initial submission of complaints in relation to potential corruption.

JSC Chair and Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla at the time claimed the suspension was unrelated to the Nasheed/Hulhumalé case.

The JSC subsequently contested the High Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case into the legality of the magistrate court – no hearings have been held in the Nasheed trial for over 12 months.

Nasheed’s legal team sent a letter to the High Court late last month, requesting the case be continued immediately.

Yesterday, the MDP said that the failure to proceed with the cases against Ali Hameed demonstrated the current state of the Maldivian justice system.

A statement released by the party noted that police had filed the cases into Ali Hameed’s alleged appearance in sex tapes, the JSC’s halting of the investigation into complaints against the same judge, and alleged destruction of  papers concerning a corruption case against Hameed being destroyed in a coffee spill.

“We therefore note that the criminal justice system of this country is one that has failed to deliver justice. That the cases against Ali Hameed fail to be investigated, and the surprising events that unfold if a case against him is filed at the courts clearly demonstrate the status of this country’s criminal justice system.”

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali refused to comment on the allegations today, stating “this government does not see it as necessary to comment on everything that the opposition MDP has to say”.


Maldives’ criminal justice system no longer delivers justice, says MDP

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said the criminal justice system in the Maldives has stopped delivering justice, expressing concern over the “awe-inspiring things” that are happening to cases involving Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed

In a statement issued today, the party said that investigators and the court are acting in a bizarre way when dealing with the accusations concerning Judge Hameed being blackmailed, and engaging in sexual misconduct with prostitutes.

The MDP highlighted the fact that the police have suspended investigations in to Hameed’s sexual misconduct, his potential blackmail and his suspected sex videos, and that Judicial Service Commission had stopped pursuing all cases against the judge.

It was also noted that the criminal corruption case against him is on hold after a coffee spill over the case documents.

The statement said that these incidents of failing to investigate or prosecute Judge Hameed were a clear indication of the status of the Maldives’ criminal justice system.

“Such a judge sitting on the supreme court bench is not recognised by any judicial or legal system in the world. And surely it is the general public who are facing injustice because of this,” MDP has said.

Images and symbols depicting scenes from the sex-tape formed a prominent part of protests against the court’s repeated interference in the presidential election of 2013, serving to further undermine the court’s public credibility.

In the statement the party accused the President Abdulla Yameen’s government of desiring to keep a “blackmailed judge” on the Supreme Court bench as a tool to legitimise coup d’etats, unlawful activity carried out by the government and to cancel legitimate elections.