State must prove ‘MC’ Hameed’s dismissal was lawful: Civil Court

The Civil Court has ruled that it is the state’s responsibility to prove that former head of police intelligence Chief Superintendent ‘MC’ Hameed’s dismissal was lawful and in accordance with the constitution.

The Police Disciplinary Board dismissed Hameed from his position over allegations he provided confidential information to an opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) report written by the former government’s Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam, and National Security Advisor Ameen Faisal.

Local media claimed the decision was made by the Disciplinary Board on allegations that the three officers had “worked for the political benefit of a certain party” using their police roles.

Hameed filed a lawsuit in the Civil Court against the Maldives Police Service (MPS) on August 25, claiming that his dismissal from the institution was unlawful.

“The [judge’s] ruling is in reference to the state’s attorney ‘holding onto witnesses’ who would provide testimony regarding my dismissal in which I was sacked unlawfully. This is not the final verdict,” Hameed told Minivan News today.

“The MPS believe they have the privilege of not falling under general employment regulations because they are a separate entity,” he added.

Speaking previously to Minivan News Hameed stated, “I have noted that the dismissal was against the constitution and the Police Act. We have noted many articles that were violated in the dismissal.”

Judge Mariyam Nihayath, presiding over the Civil Court hearing, ruled in favor of Hameed’s lawyer’s argument that it is indeed the responsibility of the state to prove Hameed’s dismissal was legal.

Nihayath explained that all citizens are guaranteed the fundamental right to employment and if that right was withheld, it must be in accordance with Article 16 of the constitution, according to local media.

Article 16 guarantees the “rights and freedoms” enumerated in the constitution for all citizens – including employment – are “subject only to such reasonable limits [as] prescribed by a law” and these limits must be “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

When asked about today’s Civil Court ruling, Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef instead referred to the Criminal Court case being brought against Hameed by the police.

“The case is being investigated and has been sent to the Prosecutor General’s office. You’ll have to ask them if they have enough supporting evidence,” Haneef told Minivan News.

Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office Media Official Hussain Nashid confirmed to Minivan News that the PG had received the case against Hameed “last November or December” but was “not sure” if the civil court ruling would have any bearing on the state’s criminal court case.

Hameed also confirmed that the MPS previously filed the criminal case against him with the PG’s office, but did not know of any further developments in this regard.

“I have not yet received a summons [to appear in court], so I guess the case is still pending,” stated Hameed.

The Police Disciplinary Board also relieved Superintendent Ibrahim Adhnan of duty and announced it was demoting Superintendent ‘Lady’ Ibrahim Manik to Chief Inspector of Police, removing the disciplinary badge on his uniform, in June 2012.

Hameed, Adhnan and Manik were among only a few police senior officers who did not join the events of February 7, which saw mutinying police hand out riot gear to opposition demonstrators and launch an all-out assault on the main military headquarters.

Hameed’s arrest and detention

In June 2012, Police arrested Hameed over allegations he had contributed to the MDP’s report into the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the publication of which was derided by the government as an “act of terrorism”.

Following reports that police who cooperated with the Ameen-Aslam report were being rounded up and detained, police initially denied allegations of a “witch hunt” and issued a statement accusing the media of “circulating baseless and false reports”. However court warrants for the arrest of Hameed and Staff Sergeant Ahmed Naseer were subsequently leaked.

The Criminal Court arrest warrant stated that Hameed was accused of “misusing” or leaking information acquired through his position for “the political gain of a particular group”, and participating in the compilation of the “misleading” Ameen-Aslam [MDP] report, which undermines “the public’s respect for the security services.”

It justified his detention on the grounds that Hameed might influence witnesses and attempt to get rid of evidence as “others are suspected of involvement in the case.”

Police issued a statement that day confirming that Hameed had been arrested on charges of leaking “important information collected by the Maldives Police Services intelligence related to national security” as well as providing “untrue and false information” intended to benefit a specific [political] party, which could pose a threat to national security and create “divisions between the police and the public.”

Hameed’s actions were in violation of the Police Act, the statement insisted.

Hameed was held for five days following his arrest. The Criminal Court’s decision to detain Hameed was appealed by his family in the High Court, which ruled that there was no grounds to rule an extension of his detention was unlawful at the time.

The Criminal Court extended his detention period to five days before releasing him on the grounds that it did “not believe the detention should be extended any further,” just a few hours after the High Court upheld its decision to keep him detained.

Hameed’s lawyer Ismail Visham argued during the High Court hearing that his client had been subjected to discrimination.

Visham told the court that there were police officers accused of more serious crimes who had not been detained, alleging that in one instance, a senior colleague presently stood accused of attempting to rape a woman.

He further contended that the Criminal Court judge had extended Hameed’s detention period not based on police evidence, but on the judge’s own view. Visham contended that Hameed had therefore lost the right to respond to the accusations against him.

In response, the state attorney said that Hameed was accused not of a disciplinary matter but a criminal offence, and argued that the Criminal Court judge had declared Hameed a threat to society because police told the judge he might seek to “intimidate witnesses” and “destroy evidence”.

Following his detention, the family of Chief Superintendent Hameed expressed concern over his detention and noted that he was widely respected in the force as “a man of principle”. He has been in the service for over 17 years and has a masters in policing, intelligence and counter-terrorism.

Following the raid and extrajudicial dismantling of the MDP’s protest site at Usfasgandu on May 29, Hameed tweeted: ” Called a ‘baaghee’ [traitor] on the road twice today. Rightly so when our own actions are unjustifiable and thuggery like!”

After his dismissal, Hameed tweeted: “Ayan: Daddy, why were you fired from your job? My response: Because I did not join the bad guys.


Civil Court rules banning private vehicles for uncertified roadworthiness is illegal

The Civil Court ruled last week that only vehicles used at construction sites and for public transport could be banned from use by the Maldives Transport Authority for expired or uncertified roadworthiness.

The judgment was delivered in a case filed by lawyer Idhuham Muiz contesting the legality of the Maldives Transport Authority – under the remit of the Transport Ministry – banning privately-owned vehicles for not being certified for roadworthiness within a set period after registration or expiration.

Muiz argued that the transport authority’s actions violated the Land Vehicles Act of 2009, which specified that banning vehicles for failing to meet driving safety standards applied only to those used at construction sites and for public transport.

“As these purposes are expressed in the law, use of registered or newly registered vehicles with roadworthiness either expired or uncertified within the period set by the [transport authority] could only be banned for these two purposes,” the Civil Court judgment reads.

Judge Mariyam Nihiyath ruled that owners of vehicles banned by the authority should be compensated.

Former Attorney General Husnu Suood meanwhile told Sun Online that police could no longer fine owners for driving vehicles with uncertified roadworthiness.

Moreover, individuals on whom the now-illegal fines were imposed could sue for compensation.

Owners found to be driving vehicles with either expired or no roadworthiness certificates are fined and have their licenses withheld by police.