The Supreme Court has questioned opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) lawyer Hisaan Hussein today for alleged contempt of court.
On September 24, the Supreme Court suspended Hisaan from defending the Elections Commission (EC) in the apex court’s hearings into a case filed by Jumhooree Party (JP) to annul the first round of presidential elections held on September 7.
The Supreme Court letter posted by Hisaan at the time stated that she had been barred from appearing before the court as her remarks “in the media as well as social media” had allegedly “diminished the dignity” of the court and were under investigation.
The letter also accused Hisaan of criticizing a Supreme Court order to delay the second round of polls until a verdict in the vote annulment case is issued.
The MDP’s Hassan Latheef and Election Commission’s (EC) Husnu Suood were also suspended.
Expressing concern over the Supreme Court’s investigation, Hisaan said: “It is deeply concerning when a court investigates lawyers. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech to all citizens without discrimination.”
Hisaan said she had told the Supreme Court that she respects the court system and that she had not disrespected the courts in any manner.
The Supreme Court had told her they would summon her later to sign her statement, she added.
The Supreme Court annulled the September 7 polls based on a secret police document that the EC was not allowed to respond to and issued several guidelines dictating the electoral process. The EC has criticized the guidelines as “restrictions” that limit the EC’s powers.
EC President Fuwad Thowfeek has also slammed the evidence used by the Supreme Court to annul the vote as “baseless.”
Meanwhile, the UN has conducted an expert UN review of the secret police report and said the September 7 poll was “all inclusive, there was no disenfranchisement and the quality of the voter register met international standards.”
UN Assistant Seceretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez- Taranco joined the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in expressing deep concern over the conduct of the Supreme Court.
Several MDP MPs are currently on trial for contempt of court. The Criminal Court held a hearing yesterday against MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy for alleged contempt of court.
Fahmy’s lawyer Masthoor Husny said the regulation criminalizing contempt of court had expired in 2011.
Private broadcaster Raajje TV is also under investigation for criticizing the Supreme Court.