JSC rejects no-confidence motion against Chair Adam Mohamed

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided to reject a proposed no-confidence motion against its Chair, Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed, filed by commission member Shuaib Abdul Rahman.

Rahman – the public’s nominee to the commission – told Minivan News last week that he had attempted to file the no-confidence motion against Adam Mohamed contending that he was responsible for the judicial watchdog‘s “state of limbo”.

Rahman further accused Mohamed of failing to back the JSC’s investigation of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed’s sex-tape scandal, and abusing power to release press statements on behalf of the commission.

Rahman alleged Adam Mohamed had deliberately refused to table the no-confidence motion against him during last week’s commission meeting.

“When I first filed the motion, the Secretary General of the Commission said he could only table the motion with a proper reason. Then I told him all the reasons as why the motion should be filed. But still Adam Mohamed refused to table the motion. Now he has unofficially said that he would table the motion on Monday,” Rahman said.

In a letter sent to Rahman by the JSC, signed by the Secretary General of the Commission, the JSC claimed that the Judicial Service Commission Act – JSC’s parent legislation – did not allow the filing of no-confidence motions against its Chair and Vice Chair.

Therefore, the proposition of a no-confidence motion is not allowed as per section 10 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, the letter claimed.

Following the dismissal of his motion, Rahman told local media today (August 26) that would file the matter with both the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and parliament’s Independent Institutions Oversight Committee.

Speaking to local media outlet CNM, Rahman claimed that a decision by the commission to reject his motion should only be decided by the majority of the commission members, and that Adam Mohamed did not have the discretionary power to dismiss the motion.

He also said that the section 17 of the same act required all members to refrain from conflict of interest, contending that Adam Mohamed could not dismiss the motion while it involved his own interests.

Therefore, Rahman contested that Adam Mohamed had misused his powers as the Chair of JSC which amounted to corrupt practice, falling within the ambit of the ACC.

“[Adam Mohamed] has acted like this every time. Cases that need to be given priority, including the case of recent statement issued by Supreme Court [regarding the appointment of the CSC member], have been withheld because he has an interest in it. That is something that the JSC should prioritise,” he told CNM.

The JSC has meanwhile refused to comment on the matter.

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Parliament fails to appoint new representative to JSC

The Parliament has failed to come to a decision in appointing a new representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) after all four proposed candidates failed to obtain the required majority.

The names of the four MPs proposed to fill the judicial watchdog’s vacancy included: opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Hamza, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Aboobakr, former MDP and currently Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, and independent MP Mohamed Hussain.

During the voting session held today, 39 MPs out of 73 who took part decided against appointing Hamza to the position, while 34 MPs voted in his favour.  

Meanwhile, 55 MPs opposed the proposition to appoint ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, and 42 MPs voted against Jamaal Aboobakr. Independent MP Mohamed Hussain withdrew his name.

Following the outcome, Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid announced that the Majlis would open the opportunity for parties to propose names in the next session.

Previously, resort tycoon and leader of Jumhoree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim was parliament’s representative at the JSC, but he had to give up the seat after he was officially declared a candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

In June 2011, Gaism Ibrahim was appointed to the commission after parliament voted out the former MP late Dr Afrasheem Ali.  In a close contest between then ruling MDP and the opposition parties, Gasim Ibrahim beat former MDP Chairperson MP Mariya Ahmed Didi by 38 votes to 36.

The current JSC composition includes speaker of parliament, a judge from Supreme Court, a High Court judge, a judge from trial courts, a member of parliament, a member appointed from the general public, the Civil Service Commission Chair, an individual appointed by the president, the attorney general, and a lawyer elected from those registered in the country.

During today’s session, parliament also appointed former Education Minister Dr Dr Mohamed Latheef as chair of Civil Service Commission (CSC) – a post that had been vacant since the parliamentary deposition of Fahmy Hassan.

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“Murder has to be punished with murder”: Yameen calls for death penalty to be put into practice

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Presidential Candidate Abdulla Yameen has called for the death penalty to be put into practice in the Maldives, a day after vowing to reform the judiciary.

The MP, half brother of former autocratic ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, made the comments while speaking on the program Voice of Maldives on Monday night (July 22).

Yameen explained that although he was not previously an advocate of the death penalty, he now believed it must be implemented to save Maldivian society from murders that have become too commonplace, according to local media reports.

Yameen noted that as a result of the “recent spate of killings” in the Maldives he has had a “change of heart” and now believes “murder has to be punished with murder.”

“It is something that has to be done. We cannot move forward without making our streets safe,” Yameen said.

Yameen explained that a death penalty sentence should only be implemented if upheld by the Supreme Court.

“I now believe, if it can be proven in trial so that the country accepts, if it is proven to a degree accepted by judicial principles, if all the steps are followed, and if the Maldivian people believe, I believe that the death penalty is necessary to save society,” he said.

He also noted that because detailed legislation is necessary to implement the death penalty, the current government recently proposed a death penalty bill in parliament.

Regarding whether he would implement Islamic Sharia law, Yameen’s response to a caller was that “justice is currently delivered in the Maldives through Islamic principles” and that he would act “in accordance with what is laid out by the constitution.”

He pledged that under a PPM government he would “do whatever has to be done” to make the Maldives a peaceful place.

Yameen also denied financing or having links with gangs, claiming these allegations “do not have any basis” and politicians perpetuating such rumors “lack sincerity”.

Such rumors that Yameen has gang ties have “been around a long time”, according to CNM.

During the PPM presidential primary, former candidate and PPM Vice President Umar Naseer publicly accused Yameen of involvement with gangs and the illegal drug trade. However, Yameen denied the “defamatory accusations” calling them “baseless and untrue”.

Yameen further noted during the Voice of Maldives program that a “major part” of the government budget would be spent on youth, including a special rehabilitation program for drug addicts, with more than 900 placements available, if he is elected president.

Last month, Yameen also announced that PPM intended to transform Hulhumale’ into a “Youth City” where enough apartments to accommodate young people would be constructed.

Judicial reform pledge

Meanwhile, a day prior to Yameen’s comments in favor of implementing the death penalty to quell violent crime in the Maldives, the PPM presidential candidate pledged to reform the judiciary, even if it required amending the constitution.

To gain investors’ confidence and bring foreign investments to the Maldives, reforming the judiciary to ensure swift justice and confidence in the institution is necessary, Yameen explained.

“We see the many challenges ahead from every direction. So we are not only competing with other candidates. We are competing against the flailing economy and fading culture and values,” he said.

Yameen told local media that Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain had also noted the judiciary has “problems”.

Faiz has meanwhile urged the public and media to refrain from making statements that would give a negative image of the judiciary, and called for constitutional amendments.

His comment’s follow the Maldives Bar Association (MBA) calling for the suspension of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed pending an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct. Hameed is under investigation by both the police and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the circulation of at least three sex videos apparently depicting him fornicating with unidentified foreign women.

Earlier this year, Faiz said that the current seven-member bench of the Supreme Court cannot be abolished and will continue to remain as the highest court of the country as long as the Maldives remains a democracy. In July 2012, the Chief Justice also said the death penalty can be executed within the existing justice system of the Maldives.

Death penalty controversy

While the Maldives still issues death sentences, these have traditionally been commuted to life sentences by presidential decree since the execution of Hakim Didi in 1954, for the crime of practicing black magic.

Death penalty legislation was presented to parliament in June by government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed to implement the death penalty by hanging if the Supreme Court upheld a death sentence passed by a lower court. The legislation was put to a vote to decide whether or not to proceed with the bill at committee stage and was ultimately rejected 26-18 with no abstentions.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP said at the time that the party’s parliamentary group had opted to throw out the bill on the grounds that it would be “irresponsible” to approve such measures with ongoing concerns held by itself and international experts over the functioning of the country’s judiciary.

The party additionally criticised the proposed bill as being irrelevant, arguing that the country’s draft penal code – a recent issue of contention between MPs and certain political parties – already included provisions for the death sentence as outlined under Islamic Sharia.

Recent calls for presidential clemency to be blocked led Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor to draft a bill favouring the implementation of the penalty via lethal injection. It was met with opposition by several religious groups such as the NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf, which called for the draft to be amended in favour of beheadings or firing squads.

Minivan News understands that the bill submitted by the AG remains open for comments on potential amendments.

More recently, the state called for a High Court verdict on whether the practice of presidential clemency can be annulled.

Eariler this year, the UN country team in the Maldives issued a statement calling for the abolition of both corporal punishment and the death penalty in the Maldives.

Additionally, the state’s stance to review implementation of death sentences has led to strong criticism from certain human rights-focused NGOs this year.

Speaking to Minivan News immediately following a visit to the Maldives in April 2013, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Polly Truscott raised concerns about the recent drafting of new bills outlining implementation for executions.

She argued that even in practice, such bills would be deemed as a human rights violation, with the NGO maintaining that there remained no research to support the assertion that executing criminals served as an effective deterrent for serious crimes.

She noted this was a particular concern considering the recent findings of various international experts such as UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Judiciary, Gabriela Knaul, regarding the politicised nature of the country’s judicial system.

“To leave Sharia law to the discretion of individual judges is something we believe would be a bad idea,” she said at the time.

In May this year, Amnesty International condemned the sentencing of two 18 year-olds to death for a murder committed while they were minors, and called on Maldivian government authorities to commute the sentence.

Meanwhile, a survey of the leading criminologists in the United States conducted in 2009 found that 88 percent of the country’s top criminologists “did not believe” that the death penalty is a “proven deterrent to homicide”.

The study, Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates? The Views of Leading Criminologists published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, also found that 87 percent of the expert criminologists believe that abolition of the death penalty would not have any significant effect on murder rates.

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Maldives Bar Association calls for suspension of Supreme Court Justice pending sex video investigation

Additional reporting by Mohamed Naahee

The Maldives Bar Association (MBA) has called for the suspension of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed pending an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.

In a statement, the MBA challenged the independence and transparency of any Judicial Service Commission (JSC) investigation without the suspension of the judge in question.

Hameed is under investigation by both the police and JSC over the circulation of at least three sex videos apparently depicting him fornicating with unidentified foreign women.

Four members of the JSC voted in support of a motion last Wednesday (July 17) against suspending Justice Hameed due to “lack of evidence”, despite recommendations that he be taken off the bench until investigations were concluded.

Following the decision, JSC Deputy Chairman Abdulla Mohamed Didi and Latheefa Gasim resigned from the five-member committee investigating the matter.

The Bar Association, presided over by former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood, said in a statement (Dhivehi) released today that it was “against principles adopted in modern democratic societies” to allow Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed to remain on the bench while he faced allegations of adultery and other concerning conduct.

The JSC last week disregarded a recommendation by its own investigating committee to suspend Hameed, leading the MBA to questioned whether the JSC was capable of reviewing the matter impartially.

The Bar Association said prompt action was needed to verify whether the allegations against the judge were legitimate, in order to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the Maldives judicial system.

Priority, the association argued, had to be given to uphold credibility, integrity and public trust within the country’s legal system rather than “defending the interests” of a single judge.

The statement also called on the JSC to appoint two members to the subcommittee investigated the judge’s conduct that had been left vacant by the resignations of Abdulla Mohamed Didi and Latheefa Gasim.

Transparency calls for investigation

NGO Transparency Maldives also expressed concern that leaked video footage purportedly of a supreme court judge acting in a “culpable manner” could jeopardise the integrity of the country’s apex court, and public confidence in the wider democratic system.

“There is a duty vested upon all relevant authorities to uphold and protect the integrity of such a important state institution,” the NGO said in a statement (Dhivehi).

“Therefore, Transparency Maldives believes that, in order to ascertain Supreme Court’s credibility and public trust, it is very important for all authorities to reveal the truth behind the accusations as soon as possible.”

The NGO called on authorities and the JSC to refrain from any conduct that could be deemed as “dubious” in their handling of investigations into the judge.

Chief Judge of the Supreme Court Ahmed Faiz has meanwhile urged the public and media to refrain from making statements that would give a negative image of the judiciary, and called for constitutional amendments.

Leaked footage

The video of the Supreme Court Justice allegedly indulging in adultery came into media limelight following the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a senior Council Member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.

Snapshots taken from the video began circulating on social media networks Twitter and Facebook, prompting a police investigation. The police formally notified all relevant authorities including the JSC, the Prosecutor General and President Waheed regarding their investigation into the case.

The JSC is also investigating a further two videos involving the Supreme Court Judge, including spy camera videos of Hameed discussing political corruption of the judiciary with a local businessman, and a meeting with former Immigration Controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim.

‘Fake’ claims

The footage has been branded a politically motivated attempt to discredit the judge and dismissed as “fake” by local business tycoon, JSC member and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim,

Gasim has meanwhile said he personally saw no conflict of interest between his bid for the presidency and current role on the judicial watchdog. The presidential candidate  voted against suspending Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed during the JSC vote.

The public’s representative on the JSC, Sheikh Shuaib Abdul Rahman, was sharply critical earlier this year of the commission’s conduct and motivations, particularly its “open discussion” of its intent to eliminate Gasim’s rival presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed, from contesting the upcoming elections.

“It is common now to hear a lot of MDP and Nasheed bashing in commission meetings. This was not how things usually were before. I believe politically biased comments like this have increased since Gasim joined the JSC as a representative of the parliament,” Sheikh Rahman stated in March.

“Gasim even went to the point of asking the UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul when she held a meeting with us to state in her report that it was Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who torched the courts. I heard him say exactly that,” Sheikh Rahman said.

Knaul’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council following her mission to the Maldives in February, was a damning indictment of the country’s judicial crisis.

JP Spokesperson Moosa Ramiz was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

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JSC votes not to suspend Supreme Court Judge in sex video, due to “lack of evidence”

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided not to suspend Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, who is currently under both police and JSC investigation following the circulation of a sex video apparently depicting the judge fornicating with an unidentified foreign woman.

Four members of the JSC voted in support of a motion on Wednesday to not suspend the Supreme Court Justice, over due to “lack of evidence”.

The decision disregarded the recommendation of the JSC’s own five member committee investigating the judge’s conduct in multiple leaked videos.

The four members who supported the motion to not suspend the judge included parliament representative, resort tycoon and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim, Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor, President Waheed’s representative Latheefa Gasim, and Chair of the Civil Service Commission, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, who was recently dismissed by parliament in no-confidence motion over allegations of sexual harassment, but later reinstated by the Supreme Court.

JSC members Shuaib Abdul Rahmaan, Ahmed Rasheed and Abdulla Hameed did not support the motion.

Following the decision, JSC Deputy Chairman Abdulla Mohamed Didi and Latheefa Gasim resigned from the five-member committee investigating the matter.

The video of the Supreme Court Justice allegedly indulging in adultery came into media limelight following the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a senior Council Member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.

Snapshots taken from the video began circulating on social media networks Twitter and Facebook, prompting a police investigation. The police formally notified all relevant authorities including the JSC, the Prosecutor General and President Waheed regarding their investigation into the case.

The JSC is also investigating a further two videos involving the Supreme Court Judge, including spy cam videos of Hameed discussing political corruption of the judiciary with a local businessman, and a meeting with former Immigration Controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim.

A question of “details”

Gasim Ibrahim had previously defended Justice Hameed during a campaign rally, claiming that the alleged sex-tape was a “fake”. He was criticised by former Attorney General Husnu Suood for breaching the JSC’s code of conduct.

Attorney General Shukoor defended the commission’s decision claiming that the five member sub-committee needed more details on the case in order to suspend the judge, claiming the decision not to suspend Hameed was to give the committee time to come up with these details.

“The motion was passed when called for a vote. Therefore it must be noted that there was no motion calling to take action against the Supreme Court Justice during the meeting,” read the statement by Shukoor, defending the decision.

Discrimination between judges

JSC member Shuaib Abdul Rahmaan told Minivan News the commission’s enforcement of disciplinary action towards higher and lower court judges lacked consistency, despite all judges sharing the same code of conduct.

“Criminal Court Judge Abdul Baari Yoosuf was previously suspended and asked not to report for work [during a JSC investigation into his alleged sexual assault of a female lawyer].

“However, in the case of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, despite there being much stronger evidence, the commission members are reluctant to take action. Last time, even Azima Shukoor and Gasim Ibrahim voted in favour of suspending Baari,” Shuaib said.

He dismissed Shukoor’s statement stating that a motion to suspend the judge would be re-tabled.

“No, there was no decision reached at the meeting to re-agenda the matter,” he said.

Asked about the specific details the commission was seeking from the sub-committee, Shuaib said that these carried no weight and would not change the course of the investigation.

According to local media reports, the decision led to a falling out between members of the JSC including its Vice Chair Abdulla Didi – who chaired the meeting due to the absence of the commission’s chair Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed.

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Supreme Court Justice’s sex tape a fake, claims business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim

Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim has defended Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, dismissing the alleged sex-tape involving the judge as a fake.

The video of the Supreme Court Justice allegedly indulging in adultery came into media limelight following the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a senior Council Member of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.

Snapshots taken from the video began circulating on social media networks Twitter and Facebook, prompting a police investigation. Last week, the police formally notified relevant authorities including the JSC, the Prosecutor General and President Waheed regarding their investigation into the case.

The notification led the JSC to form its own five member committee to look into the matter.  According to JSC, the committee comprises of three of its members including Vice Chair of the commission Abdulla Didi, commission members Latheefa Gasim and Ahmed Rasheed. Two additional attorneys outside JSC have also been selected to sit on the committee.

Earlier this week local media reports claimed the JSC, in addition to the sex-video, had begun investigating videos of Hameed discussing political corruption of the judiciary with a local businessman, and a meeting with former immigration controller Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim. Both have been circulating on social media.

Speaking during a campaign rally held at Thaa Atoll Veymandoo Island on this Saturday, The JP Presidential candidate – who also sits in the JSC as a representative of the parliament – claimed that Justice Hameed had been victimised by the aides of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The resort owner alleged that Nasheed – who is the presidential candidate of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – commands “a large group of vigilante criminals who will do whatever he demands.”

“They blackmail people in order to keep them in check. They do all kinds of things. Even today, look at that fake video of the judge. [Nasheed] will do what he wants by using blackmailing and other tactics,” Gasim claimed.

Following the MDP’s launched of its youth policy, dubbed ‘Entertainment without fear’, Gasim labeled Nasheed a “monster” claiming that he had done every “despicable act ever to be found in the world”.

The owner of Villa Group also alleged that there were “external forces” assisting those behind the video of the judge, and alleged that the motive of these unidentified forces were to take over state assets, introduce other religions to the country, and create infighting within society.

“There are people in the world that cannot digest the fact that Maldives is a 100 percent Islamic country,” said the resort tycoon, whose Villa Hotels chain in 2011 imported approximately 121,234.51 litres of beer, 2048 litres of whiskey, 3684 litres of vodka and 219.96 kilograms of pork sausages, among other haram commodities restricted to islands deemed ‘uninhabited’.

Violation of JSC Code of Conduct

President of Maldives Bar Association and former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood criticised Gasim’s remarks, alleging he had violated the code of conduct of the JSC.

Suood claimed that Gasim had violated section 24 of the code by making statements in a political forum on a matter currently being investigated by the JSC.

Section 24 of JSC’s Code of Conduct states that a member of the commission shall not disclose any information obtained from the commission by being its member to a third party, except for the purpose of executing the member’s duties.

“In my opinion, it is not fair for Gasim Ibrahim to sit on the JSC while being a presidential candidate.  He must leave the position. That is because these types of conflicts will arise when a commission member is campaigning for the position of presidency,” Suood said.

Suood further highlighted that Gasim, by misusing information from the JSC for his political benefit, had undermined the credibility and impartiality of the state institution.

The opposition MDP followed Suood in criticising Gasim’s remarks, claiming that the JP Leader was defending the sex-tape scandal and incompetent judges for his own benefit.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson MP Imthiyaz Fahmy claimed Gasim was “hell bent on preventing the judiciary from being reformed”.

“Gasim Ibrahim is trying to undermine the entire judiciary for his own business and political interest. Why else is he sitting in the JSC while campaigning for presidency?” Fahmy questioned.

Fahmy alleged that Gasim’s greatest fear was a free and fair judiciary, “where his bribes will not work”.

“Look at his past track record. He has criticised reports produced by top technical experts from reputed international organisations regarding the judiciary. We all know how low he went in dismissing UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul’s report,” Fahmy said.

Gasim had previously accused UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul of “lying and joking” about the state of the Maldivian judiciary.

During her preliminary observations on the country’s judicial system, Gabriela Knaul expressed concern over the politicisation of JSC – the body constitutionally mandated to oversee the functioning of the judiciary.

“[Gabriela Knaul] claimed that the judges were not appointed transparently, I am sure that is an outright lie. She is lying, she did not even check any document at all nor did she listen to anybody. She is repeating something that was spoon-fed to her by someone else. I am someone who sits in JSC. She claimed there were no regulations or mechanism there. That is a big joke,” Gasim claimed at the time. “She couldn’t tell a bigger lie.”

Fahmy meanwhile called on the parliament members to initiate a motion to remove Gasim Ibrahim from the JSC.

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Civil Court halts judicial watchdog from taking further action against High Court Chief Judge

Civil Court on Thursday issued an injunction ordering the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) not to take any action against the suspended Chief Judge of High Court Ahmed Shareef, until it decides on the legality of his suspension.

The injunction comes the same day the Civil Court cancelled a hearing of the lawsuit filed against the JSC by the suspended chief judge, after the JSC claimed it could not “print a statement” that was to be presented to court due to an “IT failure”.

The Chief Judge of the High Court was “indefinitely suspended” by the JSC shortly after the High Court cancelled a hearing of the appeal case filed by former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The hearing of Nasheed’s case was scheduled to decide on procedural issues raised by the JSC contending that the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, which involved the legitimacy of a panel of judges appointed by the commission to preside over the former president’s trial at the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The JSC however, in a press conference denied any connection with the case but claimed that Shareef’s suspension was regarding a complaint filed against the judge over a year ago.

The Chair of the JSC, Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed, was quick to give his reasoning of the suspension, contending that it was a “precautionary” measure while investigation of the complaint was proceeding.

Following the decision, Judge Shareef subsequently challenged the JSC’ decision in Civil Court claiming that the decision contrasted the existing laws and had undermined the independence that a Judge require in executing his legal duties. He had also, through the lawsuit, requested the Court to issue an injunction halting his suspension.

Shareef is represented by veteran lawyer and former Attorney General Husnu al Suood and his law firm Suood Anwar & Co.

The Civil Court Judge Hathif Hilmy dismissed the case after Shareef and his legal team failed to appear before the court on time. However, Shareef’s lawyers again re-filed the case on the same day.

Had it not been cancelled, the JSC was expected to respond to the lawsuit on Thursday’s hearings, but lawyers representing the JSC told the court that commission’s intranet network crashed and therefore they were not able to print the statements which they planned to present to the court.

When the presiding judge proposed to delay the hearings for a later time in the evening, the lawyers claimed the problem could not be fixed within the day.

Responding to the claim, Shareef’s lawyer Suood argued at the court that JSC could have easily printed the statement from another printing shop using a flash drive.

However the JSC lawyers told the court that it would not be able to present the statements the same day even if the printing was done externally.

Following the claim, the presiding judge cancelled the hearing without scheduling a future hearing.

Despite the JSC’s suspension of Judge Shareef following the High Court case regarding Nasheed, the commission is yet to take a similar “precautionary action” against Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed – who appeared in a leaked video indulging in adultery with a with foreign women that is now circulation on social media networks.

Hameed’s sex tape came into media limelight after the arrest of Ahmed Faiz on charges of blackmail – a senior Council Member of President Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and former Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry.

A police investigation is already proceeding and Hameed was also summoned for questioning. In the meantime, the JSC itself formed a five member committee to look into the matter which includes JSC Vice Chair Abdulla Didi, commission members Latheefa Gasim, Ahmed Rasheed and two outside lawyers.

Senior figures of the state including President Mohamed Waheed have expressed “sadness” over the incident with the president noting that should the video be authentic, it raises “serious questions”.

However, JSC is yet to take any action against the Supreme Court Justice, who continues to preside over Supreme Court cases even for a precautionary measure.

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President expresses “sadness”, JSC “forms committee” over Supreme Court judge sex tape

Police have formally notified the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the Prosecutor General and President Mohamed Waheed Hassan regarding its investigation into the leaked sex-tape of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed.

Still images from the sex tape, allegedly showing the judge committing adultery with an unidentified foreign woman, were circulating on social media networks in Male today.

According to Maldivian law, the crime of fornication is subject to 100 lashes and banishment or house arrest for a period of eight months. However in the absences of witnesses or a confession, video footage is only considered supporting evidence.

The courts regularly issue this sentence, overwhelmingly to women found guilty of extramarital sex. Sentences are carried out in front of the justice building.

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has meanwhile confirmed that it was Justice Ali Hameed’s video that is being investigated.

A police spokesperson told Minivan News individuals believed to be involved in the scandal had been either summoned to the police for questioning or had been arrested with a court warrant.

“We are currently investigating two cases concerning the video. One is the case of those who had been using the video to blackmail the people in it, and the other concerns the content of the video,” said the spokesperson.

Asked if there had been any intervention into the case by the JSC – which has previously asserted it has sole authority to investigate matters involving judges – the official said no such communications had been made. He emphasised that “police will not hesitate to take any action as required by law.”

Spy camera video

Last Sunday, a second spy camera video apparently depicting a Supreme Court Justice and a local businessman discussing political influence in the judiciary surfaced on social media networks.

The local media identified the two individuals seen in the video as Justice Ali Hameed and Mohamed Saeed, the director of local business firm ‘Golden Lane’.

The discussion between the two individual revealed how feuds between politicians were settled through the court even when they did not involve any legal disputes.

In the video, the Supreme Court Justice reveals of devious plots by politicians including one that involved a plot of “killing off” DRP leader Thasmeen Ali and refers to a “second person to be killed,” however due to the unclear audio it is not clear what the parties are referring to, or the context of the “killing”.

In another instance, the alleged Supreme Court Justice further went onto reveal his political ‘hook-up’ with Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – the current Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate and half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – claiming that he was one of Yameen’s “back-ups” and that his stand was “to do things the way Yameen wants”.

President Waheed expresses “sadness” over judge’s sex-tape

The video appeared shortly after the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a council member of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and then-Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry – while he was allegedly trying to sell a sex tape of a Supreme Court Justice, believed to be the same tape now subject to police investigation.

However, answering a question posed by local media at a press conference on Wednesday, President Waheed said it was a “very sad” thing for such a video to appear in public.

Taking a deep breath, Waheed said that there were “mistakes from both sides”, suggesting that both Justice Hameed and those who leaked the video were at fault.

“If the video is true, that means serious questions are raised against a Supreme Court Justice. However the video was obtained through planning. Making such videos in order to blackmail senior officials of the state is a huge crime,” Waheed said.

Waheed stressed that it was not within his mandate to take action against judges but appeared optimistic that the authorities would take action against the judge and that the matter would soon be resolved.

JSC irresponsible, says commission member

However, JSC’s member appointed from public, Shuaib Abdul Rahmaan did not share the same optimism.

In an interview with Haveeru, Shuaib contended that the JSC should suspend the judge from the Supreme Court bench while the police investigation was in progress.

Shuaib also alleged that the JSC was irresponsible as it had taken no action on the matter.

Speaking to Minivan News earlier, JSC Spokesperson Hassan Zaheen refused to comment on the case.

“Our legal department will analyse the video and if there happens to be a case which the commission needs to look into, then the department will inform the commission members,” he said at the time.

The JSC subsequently established a five-member committee to look into the matter at today’s meeting, after receiving the letter from police. Local media reported that the committee included commission members Latheefa Gasim, Ahmed Rasheed and Abdulla Didi, and two external lawyers: Hussain Siraj and Mohamed Anil.

Shuaib meanwhile alleged the JSC Chair, Hameed’s fellow Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed, was attempting to cover up the issue.

“Adam, it seems to me is trying to cover up the whole thing,” Shuaib declared.

JSC goes against precedent set by itself

According to Shuaib he had tried to take the matter to the commission meetings, but the chair had initially refused to put it on the agenda.

Instead, Shuaib said the chair of the commission wanted to make the matter a side table business and discuss it off the record.

Highlighting previous precedents in which the JSC had taken action against judges, Shuaib recalled the time former Civil Court Judge Mohamed Hilmee was arrested by police while indulging in sexual behaviour on the beach in front of the Hulhumale Magistrate Court.

Police at the time reported that  Judge Hilmy and his wife Aminath Ali – who was his girl friend at the time – were discovered by police while in a state of undress.

The pair refuted  the charges but the Criminal Court at the time noted that three police constables who witnessed the act had testified stating that “Aiminath’s underwear and pants were down to her knees” and that Hilmy had his “pants down to his knees” as well.

JSC Chair Adam meanwhile disputed Shuaib’s allegations, declaring that the commission would look into the matter in accordance with set procedures and rules.

Justice Hameed, who according to Supreme Court holds a Bachelor of Shari’ah and Qadhaa (Shari’ah and Law) degree from Ummul-Qura University in Mecca, is yet to face any repercussions over the sex-tape and continues to preside over Supreme Court cases.

His most recent appearance was on Thursday June 27, where he presided over the case involving the Bank of Maldives and DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali’s company Kanbaali Faru Investment. The bank had sought to reclaim loans that had not been paid by Dr Waheed’s presidential running mate.

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Police investigating blackmail case involving Supreme Court Judge’s sex tape

Police have said they are currently investigating a case involving sex tapes of a judge alleged used in a blackmail attempt.

A police spokesperson said investigations are in progress and individuals believed to be involved in the case had been either summoned to the police for questioning or had been arrested with a court warrant.

“We are currently investigating two cases concerning the video. One is the case of those who had been using the video to blackmail the people in it, and the other concerns the content of the video,” said the spokesperson.

Asked if there had been any intervention in the case by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – who have previously claimed they are the sole authority able to investigate matters involving judges – the official said no such communications were made as of yet, and emphasised that “police will not hesitate to take any action as required by law.”

“In these types of cases, police investigators will look into those behind the blackmailing network, such as who is profiting from it, and will take all necessary actions against those involved,” the official stressed.

The spokesperson added that due to  current laws not being up-to-date with new media and social networks, there remained “slight difficulties” in investigating cases but said that such cases had previously been successfully investigated.

“Our cyber crime department and intelligence department will jointly work in apprehending those involved in blackmailing,” the spokesperson said.

Police urged the public and those who may have been victims of such blackmailing to make use of the police not to give in to the demands made by blackmailers.

Leaked spy camera footage

Last Sunday, a spy camera video apparently depicting a Supreme Court Justice and a local businessman discussing political influence in the judiciary surfaced on social media networks.

The local media identified the two individuals seen in the video as Justice Ali Hameed and Mohamed Saeed, the director of local business firm ‘Golden Lane’.

The spy camera footage, which carries the date January 24, 2013, shows the pair discussing how politicians have been influencing the judiciary.

The discussion between the two individual revealed how feuds between politicians were settled through the court even when it did not involve any legal disputes.

“Politicians can resolve their failures if they work on it, what the judiciary has to do, what we have to do is when these baaghees (traitors) file cases, we should say, ‘That it is a political matter. That it’s not a judicial issue. It’s not a legal issue. So don’t drag us into this. There is no legal dispute,’” the judge is heard saying.

The discussion also revealed a plot of “killing off” DRP leader Thasmeen Ali and refers to a “second person to be killed,”

However, due to the unclear audio it is not clear what the parties are referring to, or the context of the “killing”.

The alleged Supreme Court Justice further went onto reveal his political ‘hook-up’ with Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – the current Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate and half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – claiming that he was one of Yameen’s “back-ups” and that his stand was “to do things the way Yameen wants”.

The Justice, despite being in Yameen fraternity, boasts in the video that he was a person who “even Yameen cannot play with” and that over time he had “shown Yameen” who he is.

President Waheed’s party implicated

The video came to light shortly after the arrest of Ahmed Faiz – a council member of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) and then-Project Advisor at the Housing Ministry – while he was allegedly trying to sell a sex tape of a Supreme Court Justice, believed to be the same tape now subject to police investigation.

Faiz was subsequently dismissed from his position as a party council member. GIP also in a media release claimed that the party would consider expelling him from the party depending on how the police investigation proceeded.

Faiz, who has been placed under remand detention for 15 days, was also the GIP representative at press conferences of the unofficial “December 23 coalition” of eight political parties that organised a mass gathering in 2011 against the allegedly anti-Islamic policies of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

He was present at a press event of the December 23 alliance on January 8, 2012 where the group announced plans for a “mass symposium” for February 24, 2012. He was also present when opposition leaders met then-Vice President Dr Waheed in his official residence at 1:00am on January 31 – seven days before the controversial transfer of presidential power – and pledged their allegiance to the vice-president.

The ex-council member of GIP also participated in the press conference later that night when opposition party leaders called on the police and army to pledge allegiance to Dr Waheed and “not carry out any orders given by President Nasheed.”

Known to be a close aide of President Waheed, Faiz boasted about his influence within the government as a “close confidante” of President Waheed and that he was in a position to embezzle large amounts of money from MBC and the State Trading Organisation (STO) in a leaked audio clip aired on opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News earlier that in light of the developments, Faiz had been sacked from his position in government.

Following the media reporting on the case, JSC Spokesperson Hassan Zaheen told local media that the commission had learned about the video through media reports.

He explained that the legal department would first analyze the video and then decide whether the case was one the commission should investigate.

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