Protesters bar entry to courts after Civil Court’s Addu ruling

Protesters temporarily barred entry to the Justice Building of the Maldives last night, in response to the Civil Court’s ruling that the Addu city criteria were invalid, forcing the Elections Commission (EC) to cancel the local council election in Addu this Saturday.

Today the Department of Judicial Administration said that the court of Hulhudhoo in Addu Atoll was also locked this morning, and had to be opened with the assistance of police.

Local radio station SunFM reported Alhan Fahmy, a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP in Addu Atoll, as saying that he ”would not let courts in Addu to be opened.”

Fahmy was present at protests in Addu, SunFM reported, as Adduans expressed fury over the Civil Court ruling.

The Judicial Administration Department meanwhile said that it had requested additional security from police following media reports of further protests.

The department said it had informed police to provide security to magistrates, judges and courts and to investigate the attempts to obstruct the work of the courts.

Civil Court Judges Aisha Shujoon Mohamed, Hathif Hilmy and Ali Naseer examined the case, which was filed by Hassan Nasir of Annaaru Villa/Addu Atoll Hulhudhoo.

The Court ruled that the criteria established by the Local Government Authority – consisting solely of Home Minister Hassan Afeef – were invalid.

Establishing the criteria required majority of the board, the Court said, as “if a law requires a certain decision to be taken by a particular council or a committee, the decision should be taken by the majority of the council or the committee unless interpreted otherwise.”