Tag Archives: Maldives

Maldives/HRW: Opposition, Media Under Attack

August 16, 2018

Police officers detain an opposition protester demanding the release of political prisoners during a demonstration in Malé, Maldives, February 2, 2018.

The Maldives government’s intimidation of the political opposition and media threatens prospects for free and fair elections in September 2018, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of this Indian Ocean archipelago has also interfered with the judiciary and the national electoral commission in order to tighten its grip on power.

“The Maldives government has cracked down on any and all dissent, from activists and journalists to Supreme Court judges,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Immediate steps are needed to restore political freedoms and democratic rule to ensure free and fair elections in September.”

The 52-page report, “‘An All-Out Assault on Democracy’: Crushing Dissent in the Maldives,” documents how the government of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has used decrees and broad, vaguely worded laws to silence dissent and intimidate, arbitrarily arrest, and imprison critics. These include counterterrorism laws widely used against opposition activists and politicians; anti-defamation laws used against the media and social media activists; and restrictions on assembly that prevent peaceful rallies and protests. Religious extremists and criminal gangs – including many that enjoy political protection – have assaulted and sometimes murdered dissenters with impunity. This has had crippling effects on the Maldives’ nascent democracy and struggling civil society.







Maldives: Lawyer Shameem’s lawyer rights restored after hiatus of over four months

July 12, 2018

Renowned law practitioner Hussain Shameem’s lawyer rights have been restored on Thursday, after a hiatus of over four months.

The Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) had said that they had notified the Supreme Court having filed the case on Thursday, after having looked into the case of the lawyer the Maldives Police Service (MPS) had been investigating.

Accordingly, the judges bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that Shameem’s lawyer rights, from Thursday forward, have been restored and he will be allowed to practice law.

Shameem was last suspended on the 22nd of February while he was representing former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s case.

He was previously suspended for a lengthy period of time in 2015 as well, while he had been taking on former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor’s case.




Maldives: Suspension lifted for Maldives judge after two years

August 1, 2018

Hassan Saeed was suspended for calling two High Court judges “the most corrupt judges in the world.”

A top judge has been authorised to return to work after two years of suspension over alleged misconduct.

Hassan Saeed, chief judge of the family court, was suspended by the judicial watchdog after he accused High Court Judges Abdulla Didi and Shujau Usman of being the “most corrupt judges in the world.”

The Judicial Services Commission’s director told local media on Wednesday that the oversight body has decided not to continue the investigation into the remarks.

The civil court previously rejected Hassan Saeed’s request to lift his suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

Didi and Usman had been under fire over the sentencing of former president Mohamed Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim in March 2015.






Maldives: UN rights expert dismayed by failure to review convictions of Supreme Court justices

June 28, 2018

Image result for office of high commissioner for human rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision not to accept the application made by two convicted Supreme Court justices to have their case reviewed, saying he was concerned by reports of interference and serious irregularities in the judicial procedures that led to the convictions.

The two justices were arrested on charges related to influencing official conduct of judges in the wake of the 1 February 2018 Supreme Court decision which ordered the reinstatement of 12 suspended Members of the Parliament and release and retrial of nine political leaders. Following the arrest of the two justices, the remaining three justices issued a new order, allegedly at the request of the President of the Maldives, overturning its previous unanimous ruling to free the nine leaders.

Both justices were convicted by the Criminal Court in May, and affirmed with a reduced sentence by the High Court in early June. The cases were filed for appeal in the Supreme Court on 13 June, but rejected.

“I am dismayed by the Judges Council’s decision not to accept the application made by Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, despite the reported procedural irregularities in the lower courts,” said Garcia-Sayan. “Due process issues included the use of closed hearings without valid justification; use of protected witnesses without due explanation;  and insufficient time given to the defence to prepare and submit a witness list, further hampered by the difficulties faced by the defendants in accessing their lawyers in Maafushi Prison.”










Maldives: Supreme Court upholds conviction of jailed justices

June 20, 2018

The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from jailed Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, effectively removing the pair from the bench.

The three-judge bench decided Wednesday not to hear the cases of their former colleagues as there were “no grounds” to challenge the High Court judgment.

Saeed and Hameed were convicted of influencing official conduct in May. The High Court upheld the lower court verdict on June 3 but reduced the sentence to one year and two months.

Wednesday’s decision clears the way for the president to appoint replacements following confirmation by parliament.

Controversial legal changes were pushed through in March to remove judges once a conviction is upheld by the Supreme Court, the final stage of appeal.

The new rule circumvents the parliamentary vote to remove a Supreme Court justice called for by the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority to approve a finding of gross incompetence or misconduct by the judicial watchdog.





Maldives/AI: Politically-motivated convictions of former president, former Supreme Court judges

June 13, 2018

Responding to the sentencing of former Maldivian President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and another Supreme Court judge, Justice Ali Hameed each to 19 months in prison after being found guilty of “obstructing justice”, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:













Maldives: Gayoom and top judges found guilty of obstructing justice

June 13, 2018

A court Wednesday sentenced the Maldives former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to 19 months in prison after he was found guilty of obstructing justice.

Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were charged for allegedly refusing to hand over their mobile phones for a police investigation. They denied the charge.

They were handed a prison term of one year, seven months and six days.

The trio were arrested on charges of plotting a coup, shortly after a state of emergency was declared on February 5 and following a Supreme Court order to release nine political prisoners.

They face numerous charges, which they have denied.

Condemnation of the trial, which went ahead despite a boycott from defence lawyers, was swift.

Amnesty International slammed the conviction as “politically motivated” and said the trial did not meet international standards, while MP Eva Abdulla urged people to use their vote in September’s presidential elections to “end injustice.”