Six protesters released on condition they don’t participate in protests for two months

The Criminal Court has released six persons arrested during the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest calling for presidential elections, on condition that they do not participate in protests for two months.

A police spokesperson today told Minivan News that, as of this morning nine protesters were in police custody.

”The court extended two person’s detention period to 15 days,” he said, adding that they were arrested on charges of objection to order and obstructing police duty.

In a statement issued last night (28 September) police said that a total 15 persons have been arrested following unrest in Male’ since September 23.

Police said three were arrested without any conditions, and that the court had extended the detention period of six persons.

Police Spokesperson said that last night seven others were arrested in addition to the 15 persons mention in the statement issued.

”15 is the total amount of persons that were arrested,” he said. ”Some of them have also been released without being taken to the court.”

MDP protesters took to the streets following an injunction issued by the Supreme Court regarding a case filed at the court by Jumhooree Party- led by unsuccessful first round candidate Gasim Ibrahim – to annul the poll on allegations that there had been major issues with the voter registration, and that the Elections Commission had changed votes.

After the Supreme Court issued the injunction, pro-MDP supporters have been protesting everyday near the Supreme Court and other areas of Male’.

MDP has also questioned the legitimacy of decisions made by the Supreme Court as certain judges on the bench have been accused of misdeeds, most notably Justice Ali Hameed who remaind subject to an ongoing investigations into leaked video tapes appearing to depict him engaging in sexual relations with foreign women.

Pairs of large white underpants – similar to those worn by the figure in the sex video – have become a common theme in the last week’s protests.


MDP Parliamentary Group call for Gasim’s removal from JSC

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs have called for the removal of opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) leader and MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – the commission mandated to appoint and investigate complaints against judges.

Gasim is a well-known business tycoon, media owner and leader of the opposition-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP). He was in 2010 accused by the government of treason and bribery after phone calls of his conversations with People’s Alliance MP and the former President’s half-brother Abdulla Yameen were leaked to the media.

Gasim replaced opposition Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Afrashim Ali on the JSC, after Afrashim was dismissed by parliament 38-34 in favour amid claims of misconduct and corruption. Gasim was then narrowly appointed to the judicial watchdog after 38 members of of the 77 member parliament voted in his favour, to 36 against.

Former President’s Member on the JSC, Aishath Velezinee, observed at the time that Gasim “is a man of wealth, and every seat he has ever sat on has benefited him. We can expect the same from the JSC. I don’t think anyone is under any other impression. The people’s representatives have sold out to the devil, and this is a very sad day.”

DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim Shareef also expressed reservations at the time, suggesting the Gasim’s extensive business interests could prove a potential conflict of interest when overseeing the Maldivian justice system: “That is a real possibility. I think the judiciary must be totally free from political influence. We have to see how this unfolds – this is a small country and it is hard to have complete impartiality.”

“What is required is sincerity. We need to build a judiciary that is competent, efficient and capable of delivering justice,” Shareef told Minivan News in June 2011.

Speaking at an MDP rally today, several MDP MPs and senior figures accused Gasim and Speaker of the Parliament Abdulla Shahid – both of whom are members of the JSC representing parliament – of not fulfilling their legal duties on the committee.

The MDP called on Gasim and Shahid to carry out the responsibilities at the JSC and conclude cases presented against Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, to end the current political tensions in Male’. The JSC’s investigation of the judge stalled after the Civil Court issued an injunction to its own watchdog body, which the JSC obeyed.

The MDP Parliamentary Group expressed concern that the judicial watchdog was defunct while the situation of the country was deteriorating, accusing the JSC of taking no action against the judge which had allowed him “to destroy the entire judiciary.”

Speaking to Minivan News, Spokesperson for MDP Parliamentary Group’s Mohamed Shifaz said that they had not officially decided to remove Gasim.

”What we want most is a professional JSC. If removing unprofessional persons to professionalise the JSC is the only way then we will do it,” Shifaz said. ”It is possible that the MDP Parliamentary Group will make such a decision.”

He said that JSC members attending protests and trying to defend a particular judge was not very professional.

”I believe that JSC members protesting is an ethical issue,” he said, in reference to Gasim who has been a key opposition figure throughout last week’s rallies in Male’.

Speaking at the MDP rally last night, MDP Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said that the citizens of the Maldives handed the administration to President Mohamed Nasheed to establish justice.

Gasim did not respond to calls and text messages at time of press.