Ex Defense Minister Nazim’s wife presses “malicious prosecution” charges against PG Muhsin

Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim’s wife has pressed civil charges against Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin for “malicious prosecution” over a now withdrawn illegal weapons charge.

Afaaf Abdul Majeed and Nazim were summoned to the Criminal Court on February 25 over the discovery of a pistol and three bullets during a police raid on their apartment on January 18.

But state prosecutors requested the three judge panel to withdraw charges against Afaaf, claiming documents on a pen drive confiscated along with the weapons had brought to light new information.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Afaaf’s family member Ismail Hameed said Muhsin had made an unjust accusation against Afaaf. Her complaint filed under Article 75 of the 1968 Penal Code was submitted to the Civil Court today.

Article 75 penalizes unjust accusations made with the intent of harming or hurting an individual with a fine no more than MVR200 (US$13).

Afaaf was not aware she was under suspicion for illegal weapons possession until she received the court summons. The police had questioned her only once on the controversial weapons find, her lawyer has previously said.

Nazim’s family alleged the weapons were planted in order to frame the then- Defense Minister, a claim the police have denied.

Lawyer Maumoon Hameed on Monday said the decision to withdraw charges against Afaaf demonstrated that Muhsin could not be trusted to protect the former Defense Minister’s rights as the accused, including the PG’s constitutional responsibility to asses evidence presented by investigating bodies before pursuing charges and overseeing the legality of preliminary investigations.

State prosecutors were also forced to change charges from illegal weapons possession to importing and possessing illegal weapons midway through Monday’s hearing when Hameed pointed out an error in the charge sheet.

Further, some of the 13 anonymized police statements presented as witness statements were dated a year back, Hameed contended. The police had also claimed to have discovered an improvised explosive device in the black bag, but had made no mention of it in court, he added.

He then asked judges to hold a public and open trial in a larger courtroom to ensure Nazim’s rights are protected. Presiding Judge Abdul Bari Yoosuf refused the request, saying the trial was already public as ten reporters and six members of the public were allowed to observe the trial.

The police on February 10 arrested Nazim on additional charges of terrorism and treason, claiming the documents in the pen drive indicated he was plotting to overthrow the government and harm state officials.

However, Hameed said the police had not questioned Nazim even once during the 15 day remand.

Before the remand expired, the Criminal Court placed Nazim in pre-trial detention until the illegal weapons trial concluded.

Nazim’s family in a statement last week urged the international community to step up pressure on President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, claiming “there is no hope that Nazim can expect a fair trial” due to a “notoriously politicized judiciary.”

“Nazim never expected to be where he is now. But he has fallen foul of a political conspiracy, one in which powerful forces within the Maldivian government have sought to destroy him and thus prevent him from challenging for the leadership of the ruling party,” Nazim’s family explained in a letter to the international community.

Related to this story:

Evidence against Nazim consists only of 13 anonymised police statements

Ex-Defence Minister calls for an open, public trial

No hope for fair trial, says former defense minister’s family

Nazim accused of conspiring with Villa group to harm state officials

Ex defense minister’s wife charged with illegal weapons possession


PG orders Elections Commission to reprimand MDP for resolution on transfer of power

Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin has ordered the Elections Commission (EC) to take all legal action possible against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for its “irresponsible” resolution calling for Jumhooree Party’s Gasim Ibrahim to assume the presidency as an interim leader.

In a letter to EC President Mohamed Sulaiman, Muhuthaz said MDP’s call “is not the best for public order” as the Constitution clearly states how a head of state is elected and how the president’s powers may be delegated.

The decree proposed by MDP leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed during a severe water shortage in the capital Malé called on President Abdulla Yameen to hand over the reigns to Gasim.

Speaking to the MDP’s national council on December 7, Nasheed said: “The country is under a very dark cloud at the moment. The president is not fulfilling presidential duties and ruling in absentia. So it is better for him to handover governance to Gasim Ibrahim.”

Gasim polled third twice in last year’s presidential elections – successfully requesting the first vote be annulled before again finishing behind Yameen and Nasheed in a rescheduled poll. Gasim eventually threw his support behind Yameen, forming a coalition that saw the latter win the presidency before relations soured earlier this year.

President Yameen had been out of the country during when a fire at Malé’s desalination plant cut off water to the city’s 130,000 residents on December 4. He returned from Malaysia two days into the crisis.

Nasheed has repeatedly suggested Yameen’s frequent trips out of the country may be due to ill health and has called on the President to inform the public of his health.

Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) on December 8 said the MDP’s resolution “irresponsible and cowardly.”

“At a time when the government is carrying out urgent efforts to resolve the water shortage in Malé, this party believes that the [MDP resolution] is an activity planned by the MDP leadership to disrupt the country’s peace and security as well as the unity among Maldivians,” read the statement.

The PPM also characterised the national council decision as an “undemocratic and uncivilised” attempt to topple a legitimately elected government.

When asked about the MDP council’s resolution, Yameen on December 7 responded by saying “I do not pay much attention to what Nasheed’s says on such matters.”

Nasheed has also highlighted deteriorating public safety – with at least five fatal stabbings this year, and the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan as a further reason for a changing the government.

The government’s failure to investigate and prosecute serious crimes is tantamount to “deliberate state-sponsored terrorism,” he contended in a statement on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on December 10.

He has also accused senior government officials and elements of the police of complicity in abductions, murder, arson attacks, and gang violence.

“I note that the government has not investigated such incidents that have occurred throughout the year and serious criminals are on the loose. The state has not pressed charges against them,” the statement read.

Nasheed argued that the government’s inaction has caused harm and undermined fundamental rights, calling on the public to “find courage from each other for justice and stand up against inhumane torture.”

Local NGO Transparency Maldives (TM) earlier this week, however, included the MDP’s call for Yameen’s replacement in a list of what is considered a growing trend of instances undermining democratic practices and institutions.

The other issues cited by TM were the removal of two Supreme Court judges this week, and the reappointment of the auditor general in November.

Related to this story

MDP calls on the government to hand power to JP leader Gasim

PPM condemns MDP’s “unlawful” resolution for handover of presidency to JP Leader Gasim

Transparency Maldives notes “grave concern” over undemocratic trends


Maumoon Hameed and Criminal Court Judge Muhuthaz Muhsin nominated for prosecutor general

President Abdulla Yameen has nominated his nephew Maumoon Hameed and Criminal Court Judge Muhuthaz Muhsin for the vacant post of prosecutor general (PG).

The 17th People’s Majlis had rejected Hameed for the position in March. However, he is expected to win the post as Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) holds a majority in the new Majlis.

The 18th People’s Majlis was sworn in on May 28.

Acting PG Hussein Shameem’s resignation in early May brought the criminal justice system to a halt after state prosecutors went on strike, citing concerns of a lack of accountability in the absence of a PG.

However, the Supreme Court ordered prosecutors to resume work “without any further excuse” and ordered the seniormost official at the PG office to assume the relevant responsibilities.

Yameen refused to submit a new nominee to the 17th Majlis during the crisis and opened up a third call for applicants.

In addition to Hameed and Muhsin, former Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa, state prosecutor Fazna Ahmed, and Drug Court Judge Mahaz Ali applied for the position.