MNDF dismiss High Court order to produce Judge Abdulla Mohamed

The High Court has ordered the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) to produce Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed for the hearing of the case appealed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), following the Civil Court injunction preventing the JSC from taking action against Judge Abdulla over an ethical issue.

High Court Spokesperson Ameen Faisal told Minivan News that the High Court had ordered the MNDF to produce Judge Abdulla to the court at 4:15pm today, but said the MNDF had dismissed the order. Under the Maldivian Constitution the MNDF is answerable to the President, who serves as Commander-in-Chief.

”At 4:15pm the hearing was to be conducted but the presiding  judge decided that the case could not be conducted in the absence of Judge Abdulla and cancelled the hearing,” Ameen said.

MNDF Spokesperson Major Abdul Raheem told Minivan News that the MNDF had no comment on the matter.

The MNDF was previously ordered to produce Judge Abdulla Mohamed to dispute the legality of his detention, however the MNDF did not respond to any orders.

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested by the MNDF on the evening of Monday, January 16, in compliance with a police request.

The judge’s whereabouts were not revealed until January 18, and the MNDF has acknowledged receipt but not replied to Supreme Court orders to release the judge.

Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz lately joined the High and Supreme Courts in condemning MNDF’s role in the arrest as unlawful, and requesting that the judge be released.

PG Muizz ordered an investigation by the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM), and will evaluate the situation following the commission’s findings.

Lawyers of Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has requested the Supreme Court not to hear any case related to Judge Abdulla before the court decide on the request made by the lawyers to issue a writ to free the judge.

Former President’s Member of the JSC, Aishath Velezinee, has contended that while the government cannot keep the judge detained indefinitely without conducting an investigation, “releasing him is a threat to security.”

I have heard Vice President Mohamed Waheed Hassan calling for him to be released. Abdulla Mohamed is not under arrest – but his freedom of movement and communication would be a danger at this moment. We are at the point where we really and truly need to get to the bottom of this and act upon the constitution,” she told Minivan News.

“We talking about cleaning up the judiciary, and this is not talking outside the constitution – this is the foundation of the constitution. The constitution is build upon having three separate powers. The judiciary is perhaps the most important power. The other powers come and go, politics change, but the judiciary is the balancing act. When that is out of balance, action is necessary.”