JSC shuffles nine judges “to strengthen judiciary”

The Judicial Services Commission has announced it will shuffle nine superior court judges in a bid to “strengthen the judiciary.”

The judicial oversight body said the reassignments would uphold public trust in the judiciary and were an opportunity for judges to build capacity and gain additional experience.

The nine reassignments include Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed who has now been transferred to the post of the Drug Court’s Chief Judge. Judge Abdulla’s military detention in January 2012 precipitated the ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed. He has been accused of obstructing high profile corruption cases and has been investigated for ethical misconduct.

The Prosecutor General (PG) has charged Nasheed with unlawful arrest of a government employee over Abdulla’s arrest, but the case is currently stalled after Nasheed’s legal team challenged the legitimacy of the appointment of the judges-panel to Hulhumale Magistrates Court, where the trial is being heard.

Criminal Court judges Muhuthaz Fahmy and Abdul Bari Yusuf were reassigned to the Drug Court and Juvenile Court respectively.

Yusuf was suspended in February 2013 over allegations of misconduct and the JSC told local media that despite his reassignment, Yusuf remains suspended. However, if his suspension is lifted, he will start work at the Juvenile Court, the JSC added.

The Family Court’s Ibrahim Ali was changed to the Criminal Court.

Drug Court’s judges Zubair Mohamed and Mohamed Easafulhu were reassigned to the Criminal Court while Abdul Sattar Abdul Hameed was reassigned from the Drug Court to the Civil Court.

The Civil Court’s Ali Naseer was changed to the Family Court and the Family Court’s Hassan Shafeeu was reassigned to the Civil Court. The Juvenile Court’s Mohamed Naeem was changed to the Drug Court.

UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, issued a report in May 2013 expressing concern over the politicisation of the JSC and judiciary.