Maldivian charged with murder of undocumented Bangladeshi worker

The Prosecutor General (PG) office has filed murder charges against a Maldivian man of accused of killing a Bangladeshi expatriate on the island of Gan in Laamu atoll last month.

The PG office filed the case at the criminal court yesterday, but has not revealed the identity of the accused.

The undocumented worker, known locally as Bassan, was discovered dead with severe head injuries at an uninhabited house on June 11.

The caretaker of the house who discovered the body said Bassan had told him that the owner of the house had given him permission to sleep on the veranda. But the owner, Thoha Waheed, denied that Bassan had asked for permission.

The right side of Bassan’s face was smashed in and blood was splattered over the wall. Bassan’s murder is the third killing of a migrant worker this year.

The police had arrested a Maldivian man and a woman in connection to the murder. But the PG office has not pressed charges against the female suspect.

Speaking to Minivan News, Jasim Uddin from the welfare department of the Bangladeshi High Commission condemned the brutal killing and called on the Maldivian government to provide justice for the family of Bassan.

Jasim also raised concern over the burial of Bassam’s body in Laamu Gan even after repeated pleas to bring the body to the capital.

“The police said the body was decaying and they need to bury it. We told them to bring the body to Malé City as a decision has to be made whether the body was will be sent to Bangladesh or not. But they buried him anyway,” he said.

Some 124,000 expatriates reside in the Maldives, according to the immigration department, of which more than 30,000 are undocumented migrant workers.

The former Bangladeshi High Commissioner for Maldives Selina Mohsin has described the situation of Bangladeshi workers in the country as “bizarre and horrifying.”

In 2014, the police rescued a Bangladeshi held captive in an accommodation block for migrant workers.

In April this year, two migrant workers were kidnapped, robbed and beaten in a recruitment and employment agency in Malé.

A Bangladeshi worker was discovered in chains in 2009.


Adhaalath Party, Jumhooree Party leaders charged with terrorism

Adhaalath Party (AP) president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party (JP) deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim and JP council member Sobah Rasheed have been charged with terrorism for allegedly inciting violence during the May Day anti-government demonstration.

The prosecutor general’s (PG) office reportedly filed the terrorism charges at the criminal court today. The charges under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act carry a sentence of between 10 to 15 years in prison.

Imran and Ameen were arrested after the May Day protest and accused of encouraging violence in their speeches, which police contend led to protesters assaulting police officers, damaging property, and disrupting public order and safety.

Sobah Rasheed was arrested from an opposition street protest on May 3.

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed was also arrested on May 1, but the PG office has reportedly not made a decision on prosecuting the former MP.

The terrorism charges follow President Abdulla Yameen’s invitation for separate talks with the three allied opposition parties. Imran, Ameen, and Ali Waheed are among the representatives of their respective parties.

Following his release last week after 26 days under police custody, Imran denied the allegations of encouraging violence. The police had also accused the opposition leaders of threatening President Yameen and other senior government officials.

More than 20,000 people took to the street on May 1 calling for the release of imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, whose arrests sparked the ongoing political crisis.

The May Day demonstration was the largest anti-government protest in over a decade.

Nasheed was charged with terrorism over the detention of a judge during his tenure and sentenced to 13 years in prison in March.

The PG office has also filed terrorism charges against the driver of a pickup that broke through police lines during the May Day demonstration.

The pickup used at the protest drove through barricades and the line of Specialist Operations police officers at high speed and was stopped near the Islamic centre.

The police said at the time that the driver was instructed and paid by protest organisers to break through the police lines.

Riot police cracked down on the May Day demonstration with tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges after protesters attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square at dusk.

Nearly 200 people were arrested and scores of protesters and some police officers were injured during violent clashes.

The opposition alliance has meanwhile called for a mass protest on June 12.

The terrorism charges against Sheikh Imran also comes after President Yameen threatened to prosecute the religious conservative party’s leader over allegations linking the president to the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in October 2012.


State prosecutors halt all criminal trials

State prosecutors at the Prosecutor General’s Office have refused to attend hearings in the absence of a Prosecutor General (PG) and a deputy PG.

The office’s leadership is currently vacant with former PG Ahmed Muizz’s resignation in November 2013 and deputy PG Hussein Shameem’s resignation yesterday. Shameem said he was unable to carry out his duties due to the Criminal Court’s “obstruction” of criminal justice.

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed told local media today the court will continue with criminal trials even in the absence of a PG or Deputy PG unless the Supreme Court indicates otherwise. Mohamed had previously halted all criminal proceedings for three weeks in January citing state failure to appoint a PG within the 30 days,

In response, PG office Spokesperson and lawyer Hussain Nashid told Minivan News state prosecutors were now in a “legal void,” and could not attend court.

“We have sent a letter to all courts where cases were scheduled, informing them we refuse to attend court, due to the legal void we are currently facing in the absence of a PG or a Deputy PG to lead us. We have not yet decided what action we will take in the future, but the general consensus is to wait till a relevant authority decides on the matter,” he said.

Shameem’s resignation and the state prosecutors’ refusal to attend court brings the criminal justice system to a halt.

Extraordinary session

Shameem has called on President Abdulla Yameen to submit a new PG nominee and the 17th People’s Majlis – currently in recess and rapidly nearing the end of its five year term – to approve a candidate immediately. The newly elected 18th People’s Majlis is to take the oath of office in late May.

Chair of the Independent Institutions Oversight Committee Ahmed Sameer has called on the current Majlis to find “a permanent solution” rather than wait on a Supreme Court ruling.

“The solution is to hold another meeting before May 28 and select a PG. I call on the relevant bodies to do so,” he told local media.

But Speaker Abdulla Shahid told Minivan News the Majlis cannot approve a new PG unless Yameen submits a new nominee. The president’s first nominee – his nephew Maumoon Hameed – narrowly failed to garner enough votes in March.

“How can the parliament sit to decide on the matter when there aren’t any submitted nominees?” he said.

President Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Shahid also added that he is not authorized to call an extraordinary session unless the President declares a state of emergency or one-third of the MPs request an extraordinary session.

“If a minimum of 26 members sign a motion asking for a special meeting to be held to decide on a matter in the parliament agenda, then it can be done. The government coalition has over 26 parliament members, so they will be able to do this if they so wish,” he said.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan said the governing coalition has not held any discussion on the matter as many MPs belonging to the coalition government are out of capital city Malé.

“This matter had not risen back when the last meeting of the parliament was held. At the time, there was no indication that the Deputy PG would resign. So we haven’t really discussed the matter yet. I believe that we might be having an internal meeting relevant to the matter tonight,” he said.

Obstruction of justice

In his resignation statement yesterday, Shameem highlighted the Criminal Court’s failure to prosecute foreigners involved in drug trafficking, delays in issuing rulings on drug related offenses and “unreasonable obstacles” in filing cases at the court.

The Criminal Court and PG office have been at loggerheads since January, with the court agreeing to proceed with criminal cases only after two Supreme Court orders in three weeks. However, the court formulated new procedures to delay and impede the PG office’s ability to submit criminal cases, Shameem has previously said.

“These issues obstruct the proper functioning of the criminal justice system. I am deeply saddened to note the extreme delay on the part of those who have the power to address these issues,” he said yesterday.

MP Sameer contended Shameem cannot resign in the absence of a PG. It is the PG who appoints a deputy and hence the deputy cannot resign if there is no PG, he argued.

“Surely, the President cannot accept this resignation. That is something that can be done by a Prosecutor General. There is no one at the moment to accept the Deputy PG’s resignation. However, if Shameem is not getting the necessary cooperation and is unable to fulfill his duties, then he can stop serving for the time being. I do not see any other possibilities in this matter,” Sameer told Haveeru.

But lawyers have told Minivan News no person can be “forced” to remain in any particular position.

“The Deputy PG can most definitely resign. A person cannot be forced to stay in a position based on the possible outcomes of a resignation. If the PG can resign, then the Deputy PG can resign too. If the law does not define a course of action in the instance that the country is lacking a PG and a Deputy, it is the lawmakers who must come up with a solution. It cannot be reason to force someone to remain in a position against his will,” lawyer Mohamed Shafaz Wajeeh said.

Another lawyer – on condition of anonymity – echoed Wajeeh’s views, adding “in the instance that we did not have a PG, it was the Deputy who was answerable to the oversight committee in parliament. Under that same logic, he can also resign if the PG can. The law must be interpreted in such a way that it does not allow for anyone to be in any position under force.”


Thirty percent of cases rejected by Criminal Court in past three months

The Prosecutor General’s Office has revealed that the Criminal Court has rejected 120 out of 383 cases submitted over the past three months.

At a press conference held on today (April 3), Deputy Prosecutor General (PG) Hussain Shameem stated that the total number of cases rejected and returned by the Criminal Court had now reached 435.

The Criminal Court had previously refused to accept new cases from the PG’s office, citing the Majis’s failure to approve a new candidate within the constitutionally stated period after or Ahmed Muiz’s November 2013 resignation.

The backlog of cases pending at the PG’s Office reached 533 as a result of the Criminal Court’s stance, before the court resumed acceptance of cases after a Supreme Court intervention.

Shameem stated today that the Criminal Court has still returned 120 cases since that time.

After the Criminal Court introduced new regulations governing the procedures for submitting cases in February, it subsequently rejected 60 cases forwarded from the PG’s Office, prompting Shameem to accuse the court of usurping powers reserved by the Supreme Court.

Shameem today revealed that one of the justifications given by the court when returning cases is that the accused is not originally from the capital city Malé where the court is located, claiming that hence the jurisdiction therefore falls to the relevant island magistrate court.

Shameem claimed that the Criminal Court can indeed preside over these cases as the crimes were committed in Malé and also because referring the cases to island magistrate courts would five rise to further administrative complications.

“The objective of the law is also to provide services conveniently. This is why the law is in such a way that allows superior courts to preside over all types of cases,” said Shameem.

“However, things are currently not proceeding in a way that fulfills the objective of this law,” Shameem claimed.

He further added that the PG’s Office has again appealed to the Supreme Court to assist in finding a solution to the matter.

According to Shameem, another reason the courts have used in returning cases is the state’s failure to appoint interpreters in cases where there are foreign witnesses.

Shameem explained today that the law states the provision of interpreters to fall under the mandate of the court presiding over the particular case in question.

After disputes with court staff over unpaid overtime, local media reported the court had been forced to curtail working hours due to budgetary restraints.

The deputy PG stated that police had sent 829 cases in the past three months to his office after completion of investigation.

He further revealed that the office had sent 932 cases to various courts in the past three months, adding that 356 other cases were currently prepared to be forwarded to a court after the prosecution’s work has been completed.

According to Shameem, the cases recently submitted include 383 cases forwarded to the Criminal Court, 210 cases submitted to the Drug Court, 22 cases submitted to the Juvenile Court, and 317 cases submitted to various magistrate courts around the country.


Criminal Court ignores Supreme Court order to begin trials

The Criminal Court has today refused to accept cases sent to the court by the Prosecutor General’s Office despite the Supreme Court’s insistence that the court start accepting cases.

A media official from the court has told online newspaper CNM that the Supreme Court’s order stated that cases must be accepted according to the regulations, but that cases accepting cases in the absence of a Prosecutor General would violate court regulations.

The paper reported that the court had received the Supreme Court order.

Speaking to Minivan News Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said he had sent a letter informing the Supreme Court of the Criminal Court’s actions.

‘’Following the Supreme Court order, I was expecting the court to resume accepting cases as usual to establish justice,’’ he said.

Shameem also said that if the Criminal Court was accusing the PG’s Office of violating a regulation, then the court must specify the article and name of the regulation.

“There is no such regulation,’’ he said. “I have not seen a regulation that says so.’’

He said that 30 cases were sent to the Criminal Court today, and all were rejected.

“There are serious cases in there such as the recent incident where the wife of an MP was stabbed,’’ Shameem said, adding that there were over 400 cases pending in the PG’s Office to be sent to the Criminal Court.

On November 25, former PG Ahmed Muiz submitted his resignation, shortly before parliament was set to debate a no-confidence motion against him.

On January 8, the Criminal Court decided not to accept any cases submitted by the PG’s Office and to halt all existing cases because the position of PG has been vacant for over 30 days

On December 10, President Abdulla Yameen proposed his nephew Maumoon Hameed for the post of Prosecutor General and submitted the name to the parliament for the MPs to approve.

The issue was sent to parliament’s independent commissions committee, with the committee decided to seek public opinion before sending Hameed’s name to the parliament floor for voting.

However, the parliament is now on recess and will not re-commence work until March.

On January 9, the Supreme Court had ordered the Criminal Court to continue pending trials in the court.

Article 4(a) (4) of the Contempt of Court regulation states that willful failure to obey an order of the court or a court verdict will be considered as contempt of court.


Under-age rape victim convicted of fornication, sentenced to 100 lashes

A 15-year-old rape victim from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll was convicted of premarital sex at the Juvenile Court today and sentenced to 100 lashes and eight months of house arrest.

In June 2012, the girl gave birth to a baby that was discovered buried in the outdoor shower area of her homeHer stepfather was later charged with child sexual abuse, possession of pornographic materials and committing premeditated murder.

Her mother was meanwhile charged with concealing a crime and failing to report child sexual abuse to the authorities.

An official from the Prosecutor General (PG)’s office told Minivan News in January this year that the fornication charges against the minor were related to a separate offence of premarital sex that emerged during the police investigation. The charges were filed on November 25, 2012.

In its verdict delivered today, the Juvenile Court ordered the state to transfer the girl to the Children’s Home in Villigili to enforce the sentence of eight months house arrest, according to local media reports.

The girl reportedly confessed at the trial to having consensual premarital sex.

The Islamic Shariah punishment of flogging would be administered when the girl turns 18. However, the sentence could be implemented earlier should the minor request expedition, a court official explained to local media.

In late January, the PG’s Office told Minivan News that it was reviewing the decision to press charges against the minor. Two hearings at the Juvenile Court were subsequently cancelled upon request by the PG.

However, the trial resumed after the PG decided earlier this month not to withdraw the charges.

Officials from the PG were unavailable today to clarify whether the male offender faced the same charge of premarital sex.

The case of the 15 year-old had prompted concern from the executive following international media coverage. The government announced last month that it would review and “correct” laws that victimise young women and minors who have suffered sexual abuse.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad told Minivan News that from government’s perspective, the 15 year-old girl was a victim who needed to be protected, not punished by authorities.

“We will be talking with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs over this manner and will review and correct the problem,” he said.

Masood said that the Maldives had experienced a number of similar cases of late where young women had been victimised and punished by authorities – a situation he said the government was looking to prevent.

“We are reviewing this right now and if we have to go to the extent of changing existing laws then we would look to do this,” he said.

“Absolute outrage”

The criminal charges against the minor was slammed by Amnesty International last month, which called the prosecution “an absolute outrage.”

“This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counselling and support – not charged with a crime,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.

“We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support.

“Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The Maldivian authorities should immediately end its use regardless of circumstances. The fact that this time a 15-year old girl who has suffered terribly is at risk makes it all the more reprehensible,” said Faiz.

“Flogging is not only wrong and humiliating, but can lead to long-term psychological as well as physical scars.”

In response to a Minivan News report in 2009 of an 18 year-old woman fainting after a 100 lashes, Amnesty International called for a moratorium on the “inhumane and degrading punishment.”

Of the 184 people sentenced to public flogging in 2006, 146 were female, making it nine times more likely for women to be punished.

In November 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the authorities to impose a moratorium on flogging and to foster national dialogue and debate “on this issue of major concern.”

“This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country,” the UN human rights chief told MPs during a maiden visit to the Maldives.

Her remarks sparked protests by Islamic groups outside the UN building and drew condemnation from the Islamic Ministry, NGOs and political parties.

According to statistics from the Department of Judicial Administration, almost 90 percent of those convicted of fornication in 2011 was female.

Of 129 fornication cases in 2011, 104 people were sentenced, out of which 93 were female. This included 10 underage girls, 79 women aged 18-40 and and four women above 40 years.


Deputy Speaker Nazim slams prosecutor general over work rate on corruption cases

Deputy Speaker and People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim has claimed Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizzu had failed to either come to a decision on or forward to court some 72 percent of cases submitted to his office by the Maldives’ Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The criticisms levelled by Nazim, who was cleared earlier this year of several corruption charges, were dismissed by PG Muizzu as being inaccurate.

Nazim’s criticisms were raised today during a parliamentary debate on the Anti-Corruption Bill submitted by independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

“We are seeing that regardless of how much we empower the ACC, the cases they complete through investigation often are blocked from reaching the courts,” Nazim stated, while also pointing out the importance of further empowering the ACC.  “As found recently by the Public Finance Committee, 72 percent of the cases submitted to the PG Office by ACC in the past three years remain unattended on the PG’s desk. The PG has neither submitted these to the courts, nor shared his decisions on them.”

Nazim also criticised the appointment of people allegedly involved in ongoing corruption cases to senior government posts.

“Because the cases [in which these individuals are allegedly involved] are not getting prosecuted, they are getting more opportunities to continue with their corrupt actions. I therefore think it is important for us to amend the PG Act once we pass this current bill. We need to define a duration within which the PG must decide on cases submitted to his office. If we want to eradicate corruption, we cannot allow the PG to keep cases untouched on his desk in this manner,” Nazim said, criticizing Muizzu’s performance in office.

“Unless the corrupt are tried in courts and given due penalties, they will not be reluctant to continue with their acts of corruption.”

“Honourables in parliament will know most about corruption”: MP Mohamed Rasheed

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Rasheed criticized fellow elected officials, stating that the “Honourables in parliament will know most about corruption”, going on to detail some of the corruption allegations that have been raised against individual MPs during the 17th People’s Majlis.

Rasheed also raised a procedural point while Nazim was speaking, saying he was very happy that “the most corrupt man in the Maldives is talking about the anti-corruption bill.”

The procedural point was overruled by Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid.

Rasheed further criticized Nazim, saying: “He is the man who raised the pay of all the judges, gave them above a MVR 100,000. How can we stop corruption when the chair of the Public Finance Committee has thrown all our judges into corruption?  Some people who are infamous in the line of corruption are part of this 17th People’s Majlis as ‘honourables’, and this has broadened the chances of corruption.”

MP Ahmed Nazim had four cases of corruption against him, all of which concerned public procurement tenders of the former Atolls Ministry secured through fraudulent documents and paper companies. By February 23rd, the Criminal Court cleared Nazim from all corruption charges, stating at the time that evidence submitted to prove the allegations against him was “not enough to criminalise.”

Meanwhile, ACC Vice President Muaviz Rasheed today stated that issue of cases being delayed at the PG Office was a standing issue, adding that the commission had not calculated any specific percentages regarding workload.

“There are some major corruption cases that are getting delayed, including the border control case and the Disaster Management Centre case,” Rasheed said.

“Perhaps it is just a matter of lack of resources. Probably all the institutions are just facing similar setbacks,” Rasheed added.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu told Minivan News that he did not believe that the percentage rate of the number of cases sent in by the ACC left unattended by his office was as significant as 72 percent.

“The majority of the cases sent to the PG’s Office comes from the police. Less than one percent of this amount is sent by the ACC, the Police Integrity Commission, Customs or other institutions. By December 20, we have closed 75 percent of all the cases that have been submitted here, meaning we have either rejected or sent them to court.”

“Of course, there might be some cases submitted by the ACC among the pending cases, but I don’t believe it would amount to as much as 72 percent,” Muizzu said.

Muizzu added that sometimes “different aspects of the investigation” were submitted to the PG’s office for review.  He said that in such instances, his office would neither formally reject or close the cases.

“We do not lag behind compared to other institutions dealing with criminal justice,” Muizzu said.

MP Ahmed Nazim was not responding to calls at the time of press.


Nasheed case proceedings against laws and norms: Nasheed’s legal team

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team has expressed concern that Nasheed is not being given the opportunity to have a fair trial.

At a press briefing held on Wednesday they detailed concerns about the procedural and legal matters around the case against Nasheed, stating much of the proceedings were against both the constitution and the laws of the Maldives.

Nasheed has been currently placed under island arrest, with regard to a case concerning his arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed last year.

Hulhumale’ court’s legality in question

Member of Nasheed’s legal team Hisaan Hussain voiced concerns that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, tasked with presiding over the case, was formed unconstitutionally. Quoting Article 141 (a) of the Constitution and Articles 53 (b) and 62 of the Maldives Judicature Act, Hisaan stated that it was clear the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was established out of the boundaries of law.

Hassan also noted that there was an existing case in the Supreme Court, where the court had been asked to rule on whether the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court had been formed in accordance with existing laws. She said that although they did not know who had filed the case, it had been filed prior to the decision to have the court preside over the case against Nasheed. The Supreme Court has not yet made a ruling on the case.

However, an official from the Hulhumale’ Court who did not wish to identify himself said to Minivan News today, “We are not officially aware that such a case regarding this court exists.”

He further said that the Department of Judicial Administration was mandated to provide details on similar issues to the media.

However, Department of Judicial Administration’s Spokesperson Latheefa Gasim said that they did not wish to comment on the issue at this point in time.

Panel of Three

Former Minister of Youth and Sports and member of Nasheed’s legal team, Hassan Latheef stated that the panel of three magistrates which are to preside over the case was selected in violation of Article 67 of the Judicature Act, which specifically outlines how magistrates can be assigned to courts. He said that none of the three magistrates assigned by JSC were appointed to the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

Latheef said that in contrast to international practices, the magistrates for this particular case had been “handpicked from around the country”. According to him, this was in direct violation of the Maldives Judge’s Act.

In addition to this, Hassan revealed that one of the three magistrates assigned by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) was currently being investigated by the commission on two different offenses, a charge of corruption and of sexual offence.

Latheef further said since the strongest penalty against Nasheed in this case was a 3 year jail sentence, the case could not be considered an offence serious enough to warrant three magistrates to preside over it. He confirmed that this was the first time a case regarding an offence against Article 81 of the Penal Code was being overseen by a panel, rather than a single judge.

The legal team noted that they believed Nasheed was being discriminated against due to his political views. They pointed out that this was in violation of Article 17 of the constitution.

JSC Media Officer Hassan Zaheen spoke to Minivan News today regarding the concerns raised by MDP.

“It is not MDP that gets to decide whether or not a panel needs to be formed. In Islamic Shariah there is nothing to stop us from doing something just because it hasn’t been done before,” he said.

Zaheen further stated that it was constitutional to bring in magistrates from any part of the country to sit on the case and that this was clearly defined in law.

“JSC can bring in judges from anywhere, as long as they are of the same level. It is clearly defined in the Judges Act, or the Judicature Act, or some relevant law. These are all magistrates,” he said.

Zaheen denied that Nasheed was being discriminated against.

“Has another president of Maldives had a criminal case against him? No. Now, if a similar case has not occurred before, there is no room to claim there is discrimination. What are they comparing with?”

Violation of fundamental rights

Nasheed’s legal team expressed concern that the case was being handled outside of all norms.

They pointed out that the Prosecutor General, Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights had so far stayed silent on the matter, although it was within their mandate to protect the rights of the people.

Media Official of the Prosecutor General’s Office Hussain Nashid declined from commenting to the media.

“I will not comment about a case which is in the courts currently. The PG office will make whatever necessary statements during court sessions only.”

HRCM and the Human Rights Ministry were unable to comment on the matter at the time of press.

In January, a group of lawyers had forwarded this same case, concerning the arrest and detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed to the International Criminal Court.


Court extends Gabarey detention

The Criminal Court yesterday extended the detention of Ibrahim Abdulla ‘Gabarey’ by five days after police arrested him again following his release by the court earlier this week, reports Sun Online.

Gabarey is among “nine most dangerous criminals” identified by police last week and detained in a special operation to curb gang violence following the fatal stabbing of a 21 year-old in the capital Male’ on March 16.

Police records show that Gabarey had been arrested 14 times in the past for various offences, including violent assault.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameem meanwhile revealed at a rare press conference yesterday that police had forwarded 40 cases involving the nine, 17 of which were ongoing at court.

Guilty verdicts were issued for nine of these cases, said Shameem, while seven were not proven.

Apart from insufficient evidence, Shameem revealed that eye witnesses retracting or changing their statements at trial was  one reason for acquittals.

However, he added, two witnesses to a murder were successfully prosecuted for perjury after they were found to have given false testimony.

The Prosecutor General’s Office was greatly assisted by recently enacted legislation outlawing gang activities and possession of weapons, said Shameem, as possession of knives and swords could not be prosecuted before the new laws came into effect.