Judge Abdulla suspected of involvement in “contract killing,” says Nasheed

Police suspected Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s involvement in a “contract killing” after he released a murder suspect, alleges the closing statement prepared by former President Mohamed Nasheed for his trial on terrorism charges.

The office of the former president released the statement (Dhivehi) yesterday, noting that Nasheed was unable to complete it ahead of the final hearing on Friday (March 13), where he was found guilty of ordering the arrest of Judge Abdulla in January 2012 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Nasheed stated that he had been “continuously receiving complaints” regarding the chief judge from both his home minister and the commissioner of police.

“The latest incident I was informed of was a very tragic incident. It was reported that after Judge Abdulla released a murder suspect from detention, claiming the hospital had not submitted a document related to the case, the man went on to commit another murder,” Nasheed stated.

“Both the police and home minister characterised the incident as a direct contract killing.”

Nasheed alleged that the role assigned for Judge Abdulla under the contract was releasing the murder suspect.

“While other murder suspects are kept in detention until the conclusion of trial, the police institution believed the suspect in this case was released for that purpose and informed me thus,” the statement added.

“Contract killing”

The alleged “contract killing” Nasheed referred to involved Ibrahim Shahum Adam, who was released by Judge Abdulla on February 17, 2011 to “hold the health minister accountable” for the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s failure to provide a medical report to the police.

Shahum was brought before the judge for extension of remand detention.

Following his release in February 2011, Shahum allegedly stabbed 21-year-old Ahusan Basheer to death on March 16. Police launched a manhunt the following day and took him into custody from an uninhabited island.

Shahum had been arrested in August 2010 for the murder of 17-year-old Mohamed Hussain in Malé. In March 2013, he was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In October last year, Shahum escaped from Maafushi jail along with another convict and was apprehended from a guesthouse in Malé six days later.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) advised MPs to stay in at night following the jailbreak.

The following month, the Criminal Court found Shahum not guilty of murdering Ahusan Basheer.

Delivering the verdict on November 20, Judge Abdulla Didi – who also presided over Nasheed’s terrorism trial – stated that Islamic Sharia requires the eyewitness testimony of two males to prove guilt in murder cases.

The state had presented one eyewitnesses to the assault and three witnesses who claimed to have heard the victim saying before he died that Shahum stabbed him.

“National security threat”

In July 2010, then-deputy police commissioner accused the chief judge of obstructing “high-profile corruption investigations” after Judge Abdulla suspended two police lawyers on “ethical grounds.”

After Judge Abdulla was taken into military custody on January 16, 2012, then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef said the chief judge was deemed a national security threat and listed 14 cases of obstruction of justice, including shielding officials of the former regime from human rights and corruption cases.

Afeef contended that the chief judge had taken “the entire criminal justice system in his fist” and alleged that the judge actively undermined cases against drug trafficking suspects and had allowed them opportunity to “fabricate false evidence after hearings had concluded”.

In his closing statement, Nasheed said he asked the police to investigate the chief judge in accordance with the law.

“After the police failed to summon Judge Abdulla for questioning, and after continuing the investigation as far as possible without questioning him, police found that Judge Abdulla constituted a threat to national security,” Nasheed explained.

“When informed of this, I ordered the home minister to take all measures necessary to safeguard the nation from this threat. I did not give directions at any time to any party, to complete a specific task in a specific manner or to take any specific measures.”

Nasheed insisted that he never ordered the police or military to arrest the judge and hold him under military custody, noting that none of the prosecution witnesses testified to any such verbal or written order.

On the day of his arrest, police summoned the chief judge for questioning. However, the High Court quashed the summons in an unprecedented move after Judge Abdulla challenged its legality.

Nasheed also referred to numerous complaints against the chief judge submitted to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which in November 2011 found him guilty of ethical misconduct after he made political statements in the media.

However, the Civil Court issued a stay order halting disciplinary action against the judge by the judicial watchdog or oversight body.

Related to this story

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Chief Judge “took entire criminal justice system in his fist”: Afeef

Failure of judiciary, JSC and parliament justified detention of Abdulla Mohamed, contends Velezinee in new book

Civil Court dismisses ruling of own watchdog body against Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed


Nasheed contests credibility of police and military witnesses in terrorism trial

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has contested the credibility of police and military officers as state witnesses in a terrorism trial over the military’s detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked 22 consecutive nights of violent anti-government demonstrations that culminated in a police and military mutiny on the morning of February 7, 2012, forcing President Nasheed to resign in what he subsequently called a “coup d’etat.”

The opposition leader, who has denied ordering the arrest of Judge Abdulla, contended the role of the police and military officers in his February 2012 ouster and Judge Abdulla’s arrest raised questions over their credibility.

Chief Inspectors of Police Ahmed Shakir and Mohamed Jamsheed testified at a third hearing last night, and claimed Nasheed —in a meeting with senior police officers on January 18— had said he would not allow Judge Abdulla within 100 feet of the courthouse.

The Criminal Court blocked Nasheed’s lawyers’ attempts to determine credibility of witnesses, at times ordering lawyers to focus on the content of the statement rather than the identity of the witness or the level of their involvement in the events of February 7.

Presiding Judge Abdulla Didi said judges would decide how much weight each witnesses’ statement would carry.

The three judge panel—Didi, Abdul Bari Yoosuf and Sujau Usman—also refused to revise its ruling to keep Nasheed in police custody until the end of the trial.


Shakir told the court Nasheed in the January 2012 meeting had said Judge Abdulla was destroying the criminal justice system, and undermining the judicial watchdog Judicial Services Commission (JSC) by disobeying its orders, and would bar him from within 100 meters of the courthouse.

A visibly nervous Jamsheed, however, first said he had also heard Nasheed say he would order the arrest of Judge Abdulla at the meeting with police officers.

When Nasheed’s lawyers pointed out the January 18 meeting had taken place after the judge’s arrest, Jamsheed said he had heard Nasheed say the judge must be isolated.

Lawyer Abdulla Shaairu then questioned Jamsheed on his whereabouts on February 7, whether he had been active inside or outside the police head quarters, and when he had received a promotion from Inspector to Chief Inspector.

When state prosecutors objected to the questions, Shaairu said the defence must determine if witnesses had any animosity towards Nasheed, given their role in the events leading up to his resignation.

Judge Yoosuf then directly asked Jamsheed whether he harboured any animosity towards Nasheed, and defence lawyers immediately objected to the bench’s questions, saying judges were “putting words in the witnesses’ mouths.”

Judge Didi dismissed the defence’s claim, saying judges regularly posed questions to witnesses.


Lawyer Ibrahim Riffath appealed to judges to release Nasheed from detention, stating the High Court had rejected the former president’s appeal of the Criminal Court’s decision to deny him bail.

Despite lawyer’s assurances to the contrary, the Criminal Court said they feared Nasheed may abscond from trial and rejected the request.

Nasheed was denied legal representation during his first hearing. He was arrested on February 22, and his trial under new charges of ‘terrorism’ began the next day.

Speaking to the press outside, lawyer Hisaan Hussain said the High Court threw the appeal out, claiming the Criminal Court’s detention ruling was in fact a court summons.

In a statement before the trial began, the lawyers expressed concern over inadequate time to prepare their case. In a March 2 hearing, the legal team requested 30 days to mount a credible defence, but judges gave them one day.

The Criminal Court, however, has argued Nasheed’s team has had case documents for three years, as the new terrorism charges are based on the same documents as a previous arbitrary detention charge, now withdrawn.

The statement also noted the judges’ refusal to withdraw from the bench on the March 2 hearing, despite their involvement on the scene during Judge Abdulla’s arrest and involvement as witnesses during the police and Human Rights Commission investigation.

The next hearing is to be held at 9pm tonight.

Related to this story

Judges Didi and Yoosuf refuse to step down from Nasheed’s terrorism trial

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Former President Nasheed arrives in court with arm in makeshift sling

Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers


Foreign terrorist organisations planning to topple government, claims Nasheed

Foreign terrorist organisations are planning to overthrow President Abdulla Yameen’s government with help from elements of the police and military, former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed.

“The government of our country is on the edge of being toppled. Foreign terrorist organisations and domestic institutions are carrying out this work swiftly together,” Nasheed said at a gathering of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last night near the Hulhumalé ferry terminal in Malé.

The opposition leader accused President Yameen of attempting to conceal the alleged efforts from the public, which Nasheed said would not benefit either Yameen or the Maldives.

The MDP would remain vigilant and watch developments closely, he said, adding that the party did not want any harm to befall the nation.

In late September, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed dismissed allegations of links between Maldivian security services and foreign terrorist organisation as false and intended to bring disrepute to the police and military.

Waheed said such claims were harmful to national interest, adversely affects the economy, and could incite unrest and strife among the public.

Allegations that damage national interest and threaten national security would be investigated, Waheed warned, and “necessary action would be taken.”

Waheed’s remarks followed Nasheed claiming in an interview with the UK’s Independent newspaper that the vast majority of Maldivians fighting in Syria and Iraq were ex-military.

Following the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s claim in May that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services, the defence ministry dismissed the allegations as both “baseless and untrue” and intended to “discredit and disparage” the military.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) meanwhile issued a press release on September 18 condemning Nasheed’s allegations in the Independent.

While police estimated that about 24 persons with links to militant jihadist organisations might be active in the Maldives, MPS insisted that none of them were police officers.

“And the police leadership has always been working to ensure that such people are not formed within the police,” the statement read.

Police urged all parties to refrain from making false statements “to gain the public’s support, achieve political purposes, or win approval from foreign nations”.

Police and gangs

Nasheed meanwhile went on to say that the unexplained disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan109 days ago symbolises the extent to which security and personal safety have been lost.

The police had solved only 53 of the 465 cases filed this year, Nasheed claimed.

The reason police are unable to properly investigate the cases was due to the involvement of police officers in most of the cases, he alleged.

Elements of the police and military were tied to criminal gangs in Malé, he continued, which were in turn connected to foreign terrorist organisations.

“We see all the dark activities happening in the Maldives going on through this connection,” he said.

Nasheed had previously suggested that radicalised gangs were behind the recent “atrocities” in the capital, noting that extremist religious indoctrination of youth was a relatively recent phenomenon in the Maldives.

He further claimed that many young men from criminal gangs were seen in a protest march held in Malé on September 5 with participants bearing the militant organisation Islamic State (IS) flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia.

Of the approximately 150 participants, Nasheed had said most were “active in gangs.”

Referring to a bomb threat made to a Flyme passenger flight this week, Nasheed noted last night that the incident occurred a year after a Flyme flight departing to Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Kaadehdhoo was delayed after a group threatened to hijack the plane.

“But police did not investigate the case,” he said, adding that the threats should be taken seriously.

“Our Maldives is under a dark cloud. Our Maldives is on the edge of a dangerous pit,” he said.

The MDP was forced to take to the streets once more because of President Yameen’s “carelessness and arrogance” in response to Rilwan’s disappearance, Nasheed said.

The party would not back down in efforts to hold the government accountable and push for good governance, he added.

Nasheed also claimed that an internal opinion poll conducted by the government revealed that its support among the public was below 25 percent.

The MDP’s victories in recent by-elections has shown that a majority was behind the opposition party, he contended.


Majority of Maldivian jihadists ex-military, claims former President Nasheed

The vast majority of Maldivians jihadists fighting in Syria are former officers of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), former President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed, warning of the rise of Islamic extremism in the Maldives.

In an interview with the Independent newspaper in the UK during a visit to London, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) president claimed that up to 200 Maldivians were presently fighting in Syria and Iraq.

“Radical Islam is getting very, very strong in the Maldives. Their strength in the military and in the police is very significant,” the opposition leader was quoted as saying in a story that appeared online today.

“They have people in strategic positions within both. Of the 200 people who have gone to jihad, the vast majority are ex-military. What’s happening is they are taking people in for training and they will go away [to fight abroad]. They are using the Maldives military to train their people.”

In May, the MDP claimed that extremist ideologies were prevalent in the security services and that most militants traveling abroad were ex-police and military officers.

The Ministry of Defence and National Security dismissed the allegations at the time as both “baseless and untrue” and intended to “discredit and disparage” the military.

Condemning the MDP’s statement, the defence ministry called upon the opposition party to “stop spreading misinformation in ways that could confuse the public”.

At least four Maldivians have reportedly been killed in the Syrian civil war.

Growing radicalism

Nasheed meanwhile blamed an influx of Saudi Arabian funds for the conservative turn of Maldivian society in recent years and suggested that President Abdulla Yameen might tacitly encourage radicalism.

“President Yameen feels he can deal with the Islamist threat later but first he wants to consolidate power,” Nasheed explained.

“He has the Islamists with him and he can’t do away with them. He would deny that but I don’t see the government taking any measures against the Isis flag being displayed on the street and all the indoctrination going on. They have allowed the military to grow beards.”

“They are very short-sighted. Their thinking is that Islam has a lot of support and you can whip up more [political] support with religion.”

Nasheed warned that the government’s position was untenable.

“If you look at how at how Mosul fell – the top brass ran away because Isis had already infiltrated the rank and file,” Nasheed said.

“I have a feeling that our police and military are already taken. Eventually the Islamists will create havoc in the Maldives. I have no doubt about it.”

However, there was no direct threat to tourists who visit the Maldives, Nasheed said, as the extremists did not want to draw attention to a fertile recruiting ground.

“The government wants the money out of tourism. Everybody wants the money out of that. How the tourists behave on their uninhabited islands is nothing to do with us apparently,” he said.

“They are not worried about the hypocrisy of it. Not all worried – they think it’s very clever, and it is. They have two tracks going. You have your money on one track and then you have religion on another track. They think they have found an excellent model.”

Nasheed also suggested that people were afraid to speak out due to death threats and intimidation.

“They are afraid to talk about it because the minute you mention Isis you get death threats,” he said.


On September 5, a protest march took took place in Malé with participants bearing the Islamic State’s (IS) flag calling for the implementation of Islamic Shariah in the Maldives.

‘We want the laws of the Quran, not the green book [Maldivian constitution]’, ‘Islam will eradicate secularism’, ‘No democracy, we want just Islam’, and ‘Shariah will dominate the world’, read some of the placards carried by protesters.

In late August, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon condemned “the crimes committed against innocent civilians by the organisation which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

Dunya’s remarks followed Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed’s declaration that the ISIS would not be allowed to operate in the Maldives.

“ISIS is an extremist group. No space will be given for their ideology and activities in the Maldives,” Shaheem tweeted on August 24.

The MDP, however, promptly put out a statement questioning Shaheem’s sincerity, suggesting that the words had not been backed up with concrete action by the government.

A Facebook page called Islamic State in Maldives promoting IS in the country was discovered last month, which shared photos of protests calling for a ban on Israeli tourists where protesters carried the IS flag.

A new site called Haqqu (truth) and Twitter account meanwhile sprang up recently featuring IS-related news as well as Dhivehi translations of a sermon by self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other IS publications.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues Thailand travel warning to Maldivians

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has alerted Maldivian citizens of the potential risks of travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest.

A statement released by the Ministry yesterday (May 24) explains that Maldivians should take extra care due to the Royal Thai army seizing power on May 22.

“The situation may evolve quite rapidly”, the statement warned. “Maldivian citizens are cautioned to avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings.  Foreigners who join the anti-government protests face risk of deportation.”

“Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports.  Consider using public transportation.”

The statement goes on to advise all Maldivians travelling to Thailand to take all necessary precautions for personal safety, and purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance.

In addition, the Ministry asks Maldivians who are in need of consular assistance while in Bangkok to contact the consulate-general of the Maldives or the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On May 20, the Royal Thai Army imposed martial law in Thailand, giving the military expanded authority to take action it deems necessary to enforce law and order.

Furthermore, the army have announced an overnight curfew during 10pm – 5am local time.


MNDF sacks Colonel Ziyad

Colonel Mohamed Ziyad has been sacked by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on February 20.

In early 2012, Colonel Ziyad was among senior military officials charged in relation to the controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed on January 16, 2012.

At the first hearing of his trial at the Hulhumalé magistrate court in February 2012, Colonel Ziyad pleaded not guilty to the charges of arbitrary arrest and detention.

Ziyad’s sacking last week followed the dismissal of six senior officers, including Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, in November 2013.

The MNDF said at the time that Nilam had been demoted from the post of Brigadier General and dismissed for “violating MNDF duties and disciplinary norms, repeating acts that should not be seen from an MNDF officer, revealing secret information against military regulations, diminishing the honor of the MNDF, and sowing discord in the military”.

While First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef, Sergeant First Class Ali Waheed, and Staff Sergeant Ibrahim Ali were dismissed for allegedly breaching the MNDF’s duties and responsibilities, Staff Sergeant Hassan Hameed was dismissed for disciplinary offences and Lance Corporal Shahrab Rashid for leaking secret MNDF documents.

All six soldiers had previously been suspended on charges of sowing discord in the military.


President Yameen’s India visit postponed

President Abdulla Yameen’s visit to India – his first official trip overseas – has been postponed, his Press Secretary Ibrahim Muaz Ali has today confirmed .

An official date for the trip is yet to be revealed. However, Indian newspaper ‘The Hindu’ has reported that it will be delayed until next year. According to the paper, the reason is that Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s will be absent from the capital from 20 December till next year.

President Yameen’s visit was prompted by an Invitation from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November, in reply to a letter expressing the President Yameen’s determination to strengthen bilateral relations with India.

Yameen’s trip comes as he attempts to improve the recently-strained Indo-Maldives relationship. As a prelude to the President’s visit, Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim took an official trip to India from 11-15 December, responding to an invitation from his counterpart.


Defense minister returns from India with gifts and reassurances

Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim has returned from his five day official visit to India bearing gifts and reassurances of better defense cooperation and hope for improved bilateral relations.

A major highlight of the trip was India’s gift to Maldives military, a locally manufactured ‘Dhruv’ Advanced Lightweight Helicopter (ALH). The Helicopter the second India has gifted – will reach Maldives in two months.

India also assured the delivery of a landing craft within this period – promised during Nazim’s previous visit to India as President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Defence minister. During that visit, nine months ago, India promised seven new radar systems, in addition to three radar systems India had already gifted to the Maldives.

Nazim also addressed specific issues of concern that had emerged during the previous administration’s period of weakened ties with India.

The shortage of construction material imported from India following a special quota for Maldives being revoked in February 2013, and the difficulties in acquiring medical Visa for Maldivians traveling to India were discussed.

Both issues will be discussed further during President Yameen’s official visit to India early next year.

Nazim’s visit – from 11-15 December – was prompted by an invitation from his counterpart AK Anthony. During the visit, Nazim met many senior government officials, amongst them Minister of Home Affairs Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne.

Nazim requested Indian assistance to acquire equipment and training for disaster management and fire and rescue services – a coast guard vessel for patrolling the Maldives’ EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and an auxiliary vessel to improve logistical support across the country.

Training opportunities were also sought in other areas such as aviation security, pilot training, air traffic control training, MBBS and specialist medical training.

During the visit, the Maldives defense minister informed Indian officials of the progress of the Composite Training Center being constructed at Maafilaafushi (Lhaviyani Atoll) with Indian financial assistance.  A ten-story building for the Coast Guard and the Ministry of Defense and National Security also is all set to be built at the current Coast Guard Building’s location with Indian grant aid.

Apart from improving the military, Nazim’s main focus during the visit was on health security, especially regarding the development of MNDF’s ‘Senahiya’ military hospital – officially inaugurated by Indian Defense minister in September 2012.

Nazim sought Indian assistance in getting medical equipment such as CT scan and MRI machines for the hospital. India also agreed to deputise Indian Armed Forces medical specialists to Senahiya and other regions of Maldives in a near future.

Training of MNDF medical specialists was also discussed, while the Indian defense minister announced the opportunity for MNDF personnel to be treated for major surgeries and serious illnesses at India’s armed forces medical institutions


MNDF gifted helicopter as ties with India continue to grow

The Government of India has gifted the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) an advanced light helicopter, with local media media declaring a “new chapter” in Indo-Maldivian defence ties.

The Hindu reported Nazim as stating that the gift was “paving the way for further strengthening of ties between both countries.”

The helicopter was officially handed over by Indian Southern Naval Command officer Vice Admiral Satish Soni to the MNDF’s Brigadier General Ali Zuhair – the second such award after a similar gift in 2010.

The Maldives’ Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim – currently on an official visit to the Maldives northern neighbour – officially unveiled the colours of the aircraft. The helicopter will reportedly be manned by an Indian flight crew for search and rescue operations, and surveillance within the Maldives EEZ.

The Times of India reported Satish as praising the Maldives contribution to security in the Indian Ocean region, citing the MNDF’s frequent assistance in anti-piracy operations.

Nazim’s trip precedes that of newly elected President Abdulla Yameen, who is scheduled to visit India on his first official state visit on December 22.

Yameen’s attempts to enhance bilateral ties after a fraught period in the pair’s diplomatic history were recently lauded by former President – Yameen’s half-brother and party leader – Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Indian media has suggested that Yameen’s visit will see the re-opening of a standby credit facility which had seemingly been frozen during the relationship’s nadir in 2012.

The most recent installment of India’s pledged budget support stalled just stays before a concerted – and often xenophobic – campaign against the development of Malé’s international airport culminated in the eviction of Indian company GMR.

The following month, the Indian High Commission in Malé publicly aired a list of consular grievances including persistent discrimination against Indian expatriate workers, a failure to reciprocate generous visa processes for Indians in the the Maldives, and threats made against diplomatic personnel.

Largesse from other regional powers has also come in the form of Chinese development aid, with 50 million yuan (US$ 8.2 million) promised for development projects within weeks of Yameen’s November 16 election victory.

The MNDF’s official website has reported that the award of the helicopter was part of its roadmap for the first 100 days of the Yameen administration. Other aims include the establishment of a justice system within the – recently fratricidal – organisation, and the conducting of international training with its Indian counterparts.

Meeting with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony last week, Nazim discussed increasing cooperation between the armed forces of both countries and  advancing medical facilities and expertise in the MNDF through training medical specialists.

Anthony announced that all MNDF personnel will now be eligible for treatment in Armed Forces medical institutions in India for major surgeries and for treatment of major and serious illnesses.