Committee approves authorising president to determine city council’s powers

The parliament’s national security committee has approved amendments proposed to the Decentralisation Act to authorise the president to determine the public services to be provided by the opposition-majority Malé and Addu city councils.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim’s bill states that president can assign municipal services to the Malé city council or transfer them to government ministries.

The amendment bill was sent to committee last week with 33 votes in favour and 15 against. The committee completed its review process today.

As suggested by pro-government MPs during last week’s debate on the legislation, the oversight committee also added a clause to authorise the president to determine the powers and responsibilities of the opposition-majority Addu City council as well.

The bill was passed with the support of two opposition Jumhooree Party MPs on the committee. Two main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs voted against it.

Reflecting its majority in the 85-member house, the PPM and coalition partner MDA have voting majorities in all parliamentary committees.

During last week’s debate, MDP MPs argued that the proposed changes would “destroy” the decentralisation system and reduce the city council to an “administrative desk at the president’s office.”

The MDP had won a majority of seats in the Malé and Addu City councils in both the February 2011 and January 2015 local council elections.

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New penal code delayed by three months

Parliament’s national security committee plans to defer by three months the enforcement of the new penal code, which will bring widespread changes to the Maldivian legal system, reports Haveeru.

The penal code is due to come into force on Monday, April 13 but ruling Progressive Party of Maldives MP Jameel Usman told the local daily that he believed more time was needed to raise awareness among the public.

The current penal code was passed in 1966.

Maldivian Democratic Party MP Mariya Ahmed Didi accused the government of delaying implementation of the new code in order to prosecute opposition supporters and mete out harsh punishments under existing laws.

At today’s meeting of the oversight committee, which is dominated by pro-government lawmakers, Usman proposed adding a clause to the penal code to postpone its enforcement.

The oversight committee was reviewing a government-backed bill submitted to bring minor changes to the new penal code ahead of its enforcement. Usman’s clause has been added to the amendment bill after a majority of the committee’s MPs voted in favour.

A sitting of parliament is meanwhile expected to take place on Sunday for voting on the bill. If the legislation is passed, President Abdulla Yameen will have to ratify it on the same day to postpone the implementation.

The revised penal code was passed on April 1, 2014 with a one-year period to prepare institutions for the seminal changes to the criminal justice system.

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Anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism bill passed

Parliament yesterday passed legislation on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) following review by the national security committee.

All 53 MPs in attendance at yesterday’s sitting voted in favour of passing the bill.

Presenting the committee report (Dhivehi) to the Majlis floor, MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, chair of the national security committee, explained that the legislation introduces rules governing financial transactions and the inflow and outflow of money from the Maldives.

The bill will also address the persisting dollar shortage, the foreign currency black market, and counterfeiting of dollars, Moosa added.

Moreover, a limit would be placed on the amount of cash that can be taken out of the country, which has to be declared to customs, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP said.

The new law would also benefit investors as it would inspire confidence in the legal system and offer security to foreign investments, Moosa said.

In the ensuing debate, Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim contended that the parallel market for dollars sprang up as a result of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) not allowing the price of dollars to fluctuate.

Gasim suggested that the economy suffered adverse effects due to discrepancies between monetary and fiscal policy.

“Negative consequences”

Moosa noted that noted that a high-level delegation from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) had urged MPs to expedite the passage of the legislation.

MPs were warned of “negative consequences” such as restrictions in conducting international financial transactions and credit card transactions as well as transferring money to overseas bank accounts should the bill not be passed before June.

In a meeting with committee members in February, APG Co-chair Andrew Colvin warned that the organisation along with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “would be left with little option but to take certain measures that would be negative for the Maldives” should the legislation not be passed.

APG Executive Secretary Dr Gordon Hook noted that implementing AML/CFT laws was “an obligation that the Maldives undertook voluntarily when you joined the APG in 2008″ as a condition of membership.

“There are 41 countries in the APG. They include every country in the Asia/Pacific region with the exception of North Korea and three tiny Pacific states. Among those 41 countries of which Maldives is a member, you are the only country without a comprehensive AML/CFT framework,” he observed.

The anti-money laundering bill was submitted to parliament in late 2013 and sent to the national security committee for further review.

The absence of legislation “makes Maldives very vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing,” Dr Hook said.

He added that the vulnerabilities were identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a report prepared in 2011.

MMA Assistant Governor Neeza Imad meanwhile told MPs that the Maldives received a very low rating in an assessment by the APG in 2011, after which the central bank began drafting legislation on AML/CFT.

Technical assistance was provided by the APG and the IMF, she noted.

Countries that are listed by the APG for non-compliance with its standards on AML/CFT face “hindrances” in securing foreign direct investment, opening accounts overseas, and conducting international financial transactions, Neeza said.

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MPs warned of consequences of failure to pass anti-money laundering legislation

A high-level delegation from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) informed MPs on the National Security Committee yesterday of “negative consequences” for the Maldives if parliament fails to enact anti-money laundering legislation next month.

In an unofficial meeting with the committee’s chair, MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, and MPs Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakur and Mohamed Thoriq, APG Co-chair Andrew Colvin warned that the organisation along with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “would be left with little option but to take certain measures that would be negative for the Maldives” should the legislation not be passed.

APG Executive Secretary Dr Gordon Hook noted that implementing laws on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) was “an obligation that the Maldives undertook voluntarily when you joined the APG in 2008” as a condition of membership.

“There are 41 countries in the APG. They include every country in the Asia/Pacific region with the exception of North Korea and three tiny Pacific states. Among those 41 countries of which Maldives is a member, you are the only country without a comprehensive AML/CFT framework,” he observed.

The anti-money laundering bill was submitted to parliament in late 2013 and sent to the National Security Committee for further review.

The absence of legislation “makes Maldives very vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing,” Dr Hook said.

He added that the vulnerabilities were identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a report prepared in 2011.

Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Assistant Governor Neeza Imad meanwhile told MPs that the Maldives received a very low rating in an assessment by the APG in 2011, after which the central bank began drafting legislation on AML/CFT.

Technical assistance was provided by the APG and the IMF, she noted.

Countries that are listed by the APG for non-compliance with its standards on AML/CFT face “hindrances” in securing foreign direct investment, opening accounts overseas, and conducting international financial transactions, Neeza said.

Consequences

Dr Hook explained that the APG in its annual meeting last year made a unanimous decision to send a high-level delegation to the Maldives “to express concern prior to the next annual meeting”.

Elaborating on the consequences, Dr Hook noted that 14 member states were subject to review last year by the FATF through the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).

“They have what’s called a blacklist and counter measures list. There’s a lot of countries on that list at the moment and there are varying categories on that list. And it doesn’t matter where you are on the list. There are negative consequences to it,” he said.

The consequences include having overseas credit card transactions blocked for citizens of listed countries and the blocking of incoming wire transfers from European banks, Dr Hook said.

“It would be our concern – and the co-chair has expressed that – that the Maldives should not be the subject of those negative consequences at the very time that the Maldives is working very hard to eliminate public debt and to attract foreign investment,” he continued.

The parliament upon returning from recess has “a small window of opportunity” to pass the bill in March, he suggested.

If the legislation is not enacted before the next meeting of the FATF in June, Dr Hook cautioned that the Maldives’ case would be taken under consideration.

“I can indicate that the Maldives is already on a list of jurisdictions that are under consideration by FATF,” he said.

He added that the Maldives “dodged a bullet” last year because the FATF “looked at PNG [Papa New Guinea] as an alternative.”

A review by the FATF “could take upwards to three years,” Dr Hook noted, “during which you in the Maldives would expend a huge amount of resources to try to deal with the issues.”

“You can dodge that bullet if you enact the legislation,” he advised.

Political will

Following statements by the delegation, MP Moosa Manik said that the committee could complete reviewing the legislation in “24 hours” and send it to the floor for a vote in the first week of March.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP urged the delegation to seek a commitment from the executive as the ruling coalition had “a clear majority” in the People’s Majlis.

In response, the delegation said it has met with Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad and was planning to meet Attorney General Mohamed Anil as well as officials from the Maldives Police Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The MDP chairperson also alleged that some pro-government MPs could be involved in money laundering and might oppose enactment of AML/CFT laws.

MP Abdul Azeez – a member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives – however told the delegation that there was “no political will to delay this bill.”

“We are willing to do this and I think it is our obligation to pass this bill for the sake of the nation. There is no will to delay this purposely,” he said.

In his concluding remarks, Colvin said the delegation was encouraged by the assurances from committee members.

“We will make sure that in our report we reflect that. We will need to get back to the [APG] membership and advise them on the progress and we will look on with much interest in March and hope that the bill can make it through the parliament,” he said.

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Criminal Procedure Code Bill to include strong measures against hard-line offenders

The Chair of Parliament’s National Security Committee, MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has said that the Criminal Procedure Code bill currently being drafted in parliament will include strong measures to protect witnesses and ensure successful prosecutions.

The Hulhu-Henveiru constituency MP told local media that the parliament’s National Security Committee – charged with reviewing the bill – had decided to restrict the rights of those accused of major crimes as well as introducing strict procedures during criminal investigations.

Among the measures to be made part of the legislation include setting a limit for the maximum detention period of such suspect, reducing the right to remain silent and the right to obtain legal counsel while in custody.

Furthermore, Moosa said that the bill, once ratified, would make it mandatory for a suspect to consent to urine tests and DNA tests, as well as submitting fingerprint and handwriting samples.

Moosa said that the National Security Committee members have also agreed that 135 days ought to be the maximum period a person can be detained by police for criminal investigations.

Under the new provisions included in the bill, explained Moosa, police would be expected to conclude investigations and file for prosecution within a 60 day period, while the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office must press charges within a 15-day period.

“The bill also allows suspects of major criminal offences to be placed under custody during police investigation and up until the trial is over,” Moosa told local media.

Mandatory tests and restrictions on right to remain silent

The Criminal Procedure Code bill was originally proposed during the 16th parliament session under former ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, before being re-submitted by President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration during the next session.

The bill has been pending in parliament for the past five years, with the legislature coming under heavy fire from NGO’s and the public over the delay, particularly during the record high number of murder cases in the past three years that included the murder of former MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

The Criminal Procedure Code bill identifies terrorism, murder and manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, offenses against minors, drug trafficking, money laundering and other similar acts as major criminal offences.

Those accused of less serious offences may be kept in detention for a period of 70 days – which includes 30 days for criminal investigations, 10 days for prosecution, and an additional 30 days to conclude the trial.

Moosa argued that, although the right to remain silent is enshrined in the constitution, no criminal suspect should have the liberty to refuse to undergo urine and DNA testing, which he argued would prove to be central for prosecutions.

“We believe the right to remain silent and consenting to taking urine and body samples are two different things.  This is the practice in all developed countries,” Moosa claimed.

Earlier this year opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor was sentenced to six-months in jail after he refused to cooperate with the courts investigation into an alleged refusal to provide a urine sample. The High Court, however, quashed his conviction on the grounds that the Criminal Court had not followed due process when deeming him guilty.

Witness protection

In order to safeguard possible witnesses to a crime, the committee members have also agreed to bar those accused of major crimes from privately meeting attorneys and family for a period of 36 hours from the time of arrest – a decision supported by both the police and the judiciary.

Both High Court Judge Abbas Shareef and Criminal Court Judge Muhuthaaz Muhsin have spoken in favor of such a provision during the committee’s discussions, which have also seen contributions from the PG’s Office, Human Rights Commission (HRCM), and the police.

“In 80 percent of the murder cases, witnesses were tempered through threatening and intimidation, after the accused meets with his lawyers and family members. This is something that is being talked about and this is how it is done,” Judge Muhsin told the committee.

Meanwhile High Court Judge Shareef told the committee that in some jurisdictions a suspect of a major criminal offence is denied of the right to obtain legal counsel or to meet their family and relatives for a period of three days, while in others family and relatives are not even informed of the suspect’s location.

“In some US States, [such a suspect] is not even at all allowed to meet family or obtain legal counsel. There are countries which have laws that allow a suspect’s location of detention be made confidential for a period of 72 hours,” Shareef explained.

HRCM member Jeehan Mahmood objected to the provisions, however, citing violations of fundamental human rights.

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EC warns parliament over VTV’s attempt to “incite uprising” against commission

The Elections Commission (EC) has raised concerns in Parliament’s National Security Committee that there may not be a suitable environment for the presidential election’s second round should Villa TV (VTV), owned by Gasim Ibrahim and his Jumhooree Party (JP), continue to deliberately spread false information and incite people to rise up against the commission.

The National Security Committee unanimously approved the EC’s request to share their concerns about local media spreading JP’s “baseless and unfounded” claims last Friday (September 13).

The parliamentary committee then summoned the Elections Commission (EC), the Maldives Police Service (MPS), the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) to appear for questioning Saturday (September 14) in regard to its investigation into the EC case filed against the JP.

“For the past week, the media has been trying to spread a lot of untrue stories. There have been so many figures quoted with no truth in them,” EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek told Minivan News yesterday (September 15).

“The problem isn’t local media in general, but VTV has been doing this deliberately,” said Thowfeek.

VTV had been continuously broadcasting the live program ‘Olhuvaalee Vote Ge Namugai’ (‘fraud in the name of the vote’) as well as reports against the EC and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), since the preliminary results from presidential election’s first round indicated Gasim placed third with 24.07 percent, a total of 50,422 votes.

“We went to Parliament’s National Security Committee and raised these concerns because VTV and JP [members] at their ‘jagaha’ (campaign meeting hub) are inciting people to uprise,” said Thowfeek.

“We are concerned that if they keep continuing that we may not find the opportunity for a peaceful, harmonious environment suitable for voting on the 28th,” he continued.

During the National Security Committee meeting these issues were brought to the attention of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), Maldives Police Service (MPS), and Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC).

“These three institutions were present during the second round of the meeting Saturday – MBC because of VTV’s role in broadcasting these things all day and night,” noted Thowfeek.

“The MNDF and MPS [were notified] because the JP and VTV have continued to call on people to obstruct and oppose the second round of elections,” he explained.

“However, I noticed a change in VTV’s content after the National Security Committee meeting, because I didn’t see the ‘Olhuvaalee Vote Ge Namugai’ program broadcast Saturday night,” he added.

Minivan News observed this morning (September 16) that the ‘breaking news’ on VTV involved broadcasting as fact allegations that the EC was destroying election-related documents.

Police acted on the JP’s claim and barricaded the entrance to the EC secretariat early this morning, however by afternoon police had released a statement confirming that no documents potentially affecting the election results had been found among those disposed of by the commission.

“It’s really sad that one of the [presidential election] contestants – after he failed to get the votes required to compete in the second round – has behaved in such a very immature manner,” said Thowfeek.

“Gasim and [his running mate, Dr Hassan] Saeed both failed in the first round of the 2008 presidential election and without any fuss or problems they accepted their defeat,” he noted. “So I thought they’d be more mature this time and not raise problems, but this time they have failed to digest their loss.”

“It’s not a good example to set for the public and it’s not a good thing for the future,” he added.

Committee statements taken out of context: EC

Thowfeek also noted that statements he and EC Member Ali Mohamed Manik gave about the voter registry during the National Security Committee meeting had been taken out of context by local media.

“Saying these [11] people [who voted in the first round] were not registered voters is not true information,” said Thowfeek.

“These people were on the voter registry list. They were on the final gazetted list that was published publicly, they are not new names,” he continued. “The were also found on the voter registry that was sent to the ballot boxes.”

Thowfeek explained that an interim voter registry document was created after the voter list was published on the government gazette – and accessible for public review so the EC could be notified of needed corrections.

While the 11 voters in question were not included on interim document, their names were found on final voter registry list sent to polling stations, he emphasised.

“Due to a clerical error the EC was not able to find their names in the correct places [on the interim document],” said Thowfeek. “It was the fault of the EC administration. However, this was a case by case issue.”

“If anyone’s name is missed to the a fault of the EC then the commission is responsible for correcting the problem and giving the person a chance to vote,” he added.

Thowfeek emphasised that international observers from 17 commonwealth countries – including Australia, Malaysia, India and UK – as well as the US, EU, Japan and Thailand had all praised the smooth, calm, peaceful, transparent and open election process.

“During a gathering we had with the international observers the evening of September 8, they said this election is just like what anybody can see in a developed country because it was so open, transparent and organised,” he added.

Local media problems

Meanwhile, MBC has launched an investigation into VTV broadcasting unsubstantiated content to incite hatred against the EC in violation of the broadcasting code of practice. The commission stated that it was investigating the matter after a case was filed by a private individual.

“The investigation is ongoing, so I cannot comment [on the VTV case],” MBC President Mohamed Shahyb told Minivan News today.

“We have to watch real time video [from VTV] which takes time,” he explained. “If it is determined that VTV breached the [broadcasting] code of practice then we will give them an opportunity to respond.”

“The commission has to follow procedures to give them time to reply, only then we can adjudicate and reach a final conclusion,” he added.

Shahyb expects the investigation will “probably” be completed by late this week or early next week.

Although the VTV case also falls within the Maldives Media Council (MMC)’s mandate, no official complaints have yet been filed, the MMC told Minivan News today.

However, the MMC did receive an SMS expressing concern with VTV’s broadcasts, which was discussed by the council’s five member committee dedicated to election issues.

With the ongoing Supreme Court and High Court cases as well as MBC’s investigation, the MMC has not decided to take any official action as of yet, however the issue is “on the table”, it noted.

The MMC also noted it had not received any official complaints regarding the conflicting and inaccurate media reporting of first round voting figures during the counting process.

Confusion over the voting figures was created by local media reports not matching those of the EC during counting, with sluggish EC figures supplemented by differing poll results, depending on the outlet chosen. One local newspaper even had voted turnout at 102 percent for much of the counting process.

Prior to the release of the provisional results at 5:00am on Saturday 8, a small group of JP supporters demonstrated outside the Dharubaruge convention centre alleging a 10,000 vote discrepancy.

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National Security Committee investigating local media spreading JP’s claims against Elections Commission

Parliament’s National Security Committee summoned the Elections Commission (EC), the Maldives Police Service (MPS), the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) to appear for questioning today in regard to its investigation into an EC case filed against the Jumhoree Party (JP).

An EC letter requesting the National Security Committee provide the commission an opportunity to share their concerns about local media spreading JP’s “baseless and unfounded” claims, was presented yesterday (September 13) by committee chairperson MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and unanimously approved, according to local media.

“The National Security Committee is concerned that the [presidential] contestants unfounded claims of corruption against the EC are a threat to national security,” Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News today.

MBC has been summoned to the parliamentary committee for allegations that Villa TV (VTV) – owned by resort tycoon and JP presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim – was spreading information to incite hatred against the EC, while the MPS and MNDF will be questioned to determine whether current events pose a threat to national security, according to Sun Online.

Meanwhile, MBC has launched an investigation into VTV broadcasting unsubstantiated content in violation of the broadcasting code of practice. The commission stated that it was investigating the matter after a case was filed by a private individual, according to local media.

VTV has been continuously broadcasting the live program ‘Olhuvaalee Vote Ge Namugai’ (‘fraud in the name of the vote’) as well as reports against the EC and MDP ever since Gasim placed third in the first round of the presidential election with 24.07 percent, a total of 50,422 votes, reports CNM.

Asked about the confusion over the voting figures in the media not matching those of the EC during counting, Elections Commission Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz criticised local media’s role in the matter.

“Politicians and newspapers have reported this [10,000 votes issue]”, he said, singling out the online publication Times.mv for particular criticism.

Meanwhile, during an elections National Advisory Committee meeting held Thursday (September 12), the JP, along with representatives of the PPM and President Mohamed Waheed, agreed they all want a vote recount of all ballot boxes conducted.

However, the MDP’s representative on the Advisory Committee insisted there were no grounds to warrant a vote recount and accused JP of not noting any issues during polling.

“It’s a matter of principle – this was a democratic election held under a democratic system. All parties were given an opportunity to send observers and monitors, and their observations [of the voting and counting process] were done in front of the people, as per the law,” said Ghafoor.

“This was an elaborate, laborious process with each count confirmed and then exhibited at each voting centre,” he continued.

“A recount would set a bad precedent that is not in the national interest. It would create a loss of faith in the system,” he emphasised.

Ghafoor noted that international observers have praised the transparency of the election process, including four former Election Commissioners hailing from India and the Commonwealth.

“The EC is one of the [only] effective, independent commissions we have. It has a very clean track record, which everyone knows,” declared Ghafoor. “An elaborately developed legal process [for elections] has been in place since 2008, there have been at least 11 by-elections conducted to date and none of them have been contested.”

He noted that the election results are being contested “by people like Gasim Ibrahim, who are from a culture that has rigged votes all their lives.”

Meanwhile, Elections Commission Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz told local media the JP had requested a recount without any legal basis. He noted that if all the ballot box seals were broken for a recount, this could create election confidence issues and set a dangerous precedent for future elections. He proposed recounting boxes randomly as an alternative.

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Transport minister to be summoned to committee over Israeli jet

Parliament’s National Security Committee has decided to summon Transport Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed and senior officials of the Addu International Airport Company (AIAC) over the landing of a private Israeli jet in Gan, Addu City in May this year.

Newspaper Haveeru reported the committee’s chair MP “Reeko” Moosa Manik, chairperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), as saying today that the officials were summoned in light of a resolution passed by parliament forbidding Israeli flights to land in the Maldives until the National Security Committee reached a decision on the issue.

Moosa added that the committee has not yet set a date to question the officials. The formerly ruling MDP presently has a voting majority in the National Security Committee.

Former Transport Minister Adil Saleem was questioned by the National Security Committee after the Deputy Leader of the Adhaalath Party, Dr Mauroof Hussain, alleged that the MDP government had decided to authorise Israeli national airline to fly to the Maldives and allow an Israeli military post to be established in the country.

Adil Saleem had denied the allegations when he was summoned to the committee.

Banning Israeli flights to the Maldives was among five demands made at a ‘mega-protest’ on December 23, organised by a coalition of eight parties and religious NGOs to ‘Defend Islam’ against the allegedly liberal policies of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the change of government on February 7, the ruling coalition-dominated parliament passed a resolution on April 25 preventing Israeli national airline El Al from operating scheduled flights to the Maldives.

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Parliament’s National Security Committee to summon Home Minister and Defence Minister

Yesterday the Parliament’s National Security Committee has decided to summon Home Minister Hassan Afeef and Defence Minister Thalhath Ibrahim and Home Minister Hassan Afeef to clarify some information following the protests in Male’ every night after the military detained Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.

The issue was presented to the National Security Committee by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Manadhoo Mohamed Thoriq.

Former Judicial Service Commission (JSC) members Aishath Velizinee and Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Afrasheem Ali will also be summoned regarding the issue.

Yesterday a closed door meeting of the Parliament’s Security Services Committee was also held. No information about the meeting was provided by parliament except for the MPs that were present at the meeting.

Parliament said the meeting attendees were Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader and MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim, MDP Chairperson and MP Moosa Manik, MDP MP Eva Abdulla, MDP MP Ahmed Sameer, MDP MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, MP for Guraidhoo Constituency MP Ibrahim Riza, Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed, MP for Kimbidhoo Constituency Moosa Zameer, DRP MP Ali Azim and MDP Vice President and MP Alhan Fahmy.

A meeting of Parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee regarding the detention of Judge Abdulla was also held yesterday, following which the MPs decided to summon members of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) today.

The Committee also decided to summon the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Prosecutor General (PG) to the committee.

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on the evening of Monday, January 16, in compliance with a police request after the judge had his police summons overturned in the High Court.

After his arrest, the High Court issued several warrants to produce Judge Abdulla to the court. The MNDF has not responded to the requests.

The judicial crisis remains at an impasse after the JSC reiterated that it was unable to continue investigating Judge Abdulla Mohamed because of a Civil Court injunction filed by the judge.  The government has sought international legal assistance to resolve the matter.

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