The Maldives Police Service has today sent the case of the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Minivan News understands that under the submitted case, Former President Mohamed Nasheed could stand to face charges for his alleged role in ordering the detention of the judge earlier this year. Any final decision to press charges will then be down to the prosecutor general.
The country’s judges and their conduct became a major focus for former President Nasheed in the run up to him being replaced by Dr Waheed in February, leading to eventual calls for international assistance on the matter.
Nasheed had at the time raised concerns over allegations of perjury and “increasingly blatant collusion” between senior judicial figures and politicians loyal to the former autocratic President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
However, it is the former president who now himself faces criminal charges relating to the detention of the judge.
According to sources linked to the case, the charges levied against Nasheed relate to the violation of article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, and for violation of Article 12 clause (a) of Judges Act (Act no 13/2010).
Article 44 of the Maldives Constitution states: “No person shall be arrested or detained for an offence unless the arresting officer observes the offence being committed, or has reasonable and probable grounds or evidence to believe the person has committed an offence or is about to commit an offence, or under the authority of an arrest warrant issued by the court.”
Article 12 clause (a) of the Judges Act states that a judge can be arrested without a court warrant, but only if he is found indulging in a criminal act. The same article also states that if a judge comes under suspicion of committing a criminal act or being about to commit a criminal act, they can only be taken into custody with a court warrant obtained from a higher court than that of which the judge presently sits on. This warrant has to be approved by the prosecutor general.
A police official today confirmed that the case regarding the judge’s attention had been submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office today.
“Today at around 9:30 am, we have submitted the case [the arrest of Judge Abdulla] to the prosecutor general. We have completed all the necessary investigations required,” the police official said.
An official from the Prosecutor General’s Office also confirmed to Minivan News that the charges sent to it by police were against Nasheed. However, the official refused to explain the exact nature of the charges, stating that the case was still being assessed by their legal team.
Spokesperson for Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said that he would not comment on the issue until after a party meeting scheduled to discuss the issue was held
Judge Abdulla was arrested by the MNDF on January 16 this year, in compliance with a police request. The judge’s whereabouts were not revealed until January 18. The MNDF had acknowledged receipt but not replied to Supreme Court orders to release the judge.
As Judge Abdulla continued to be held, Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muizz later joined the High Court and Supreme Court in condemning the MNDF’s role in the arrest, requesting that the judge be released.
According to Muizz, police are required to go through the PG’s Office to obtain an arrest warrant from the High Court.
“They haven’t followed the procedures, and the authorities are in breach of law. They could be charged with contempt of the courts,” he said at the time.
However, following the controversial resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, Judge Abdulla was released that evening after incumbent president Mohamed Waheed Hassan took over the presidency.
A second case involving Nasheed has also been sent to the prosecutor general by the police that involved the confiscation of bottles of alcohol allegedly found at his residence shortly after his presidency ended.
In a press conference, Deputy Head of the Drug Enforcement Department, Sub-Inspector Ismail Fareed, noted that all people questioned regarding the case had fully cooperated.
However, Nasheed maintained that he had no part to play in the confiscated liquor bottles.
Just last month, Nasheed became the first president to be summoned before the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) regarding his role in the arrest of Judge Abdulla.
Nasheed used his testimony to claim that he had been informed at the time by the Home Ministry that the judge allegedly posed a “national threat” – prompting his eventual detention.
The former president additionally claimed that the Home Ministry had communicated with the Defence Ministry on the situation, which in turn led to the decision to arrest the judge after watchdog bodies like the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has raised alleged concerns over his ethical conduct.
“I was told Abdulla Mohamed would not comply with the police’s summons to investigate allegations [against him],” Nasheed later stated at a press conference following the meeting with the HRCM.
“The Home Minister wrote to the Defense Minister that Abdulla Mohamed’s presence in the courts was a threat to national security. And to take necessary steps. And that step, the isolation of Abdulla Mohamed, was what the [Defense] Ministry deemed necessary.”