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#Maldives in Constitutional Crisis: President Nasheed steps up campaign to take over Judiciary

Male', Maldives.
President Nasheed today launched a third prong in his takeover bid of the independent Judiciary that was established under the new constitution brought in ex-President Gayoom as part of his Reform Agenda.

President Nasheed today led a rally of his militant party Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), at which MDP Vice President Alhan Fahmy announced that he would be leading an MDP protest group to confront Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and the rest of the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Alhan Fahmy declared that the objective of the protest would be to show Chief Justice Faiz that he had failed in his duties, and to demand action by the Judicial Services Commission against Criminal Court Senior Judge Abdulla Mohamed. Judge Abdulla has been incarcerated by the military and held incommunicado against his will since 16th January 2012. He has not been brought before a court of law since his forced detention.

The protest, led by Alhan Fahmy, is in support of a letter to the JSC by President Nasheed today, requesting action against Senior Judge Abdulla for alleged misconduct in his court rulings and proceedings.

By unleashing his Dogs of War on the Judiciary, President Nasheed is stepping up his ongoing campaign to gain control of the Judiciary. In the past two years, Nasheed has brought the country further into his iron grip by successfully taking over the Parliament. The Parliament, when it was first elected, had a strong opposition majority, with Nasheed's MDP in dismal minority. However, a strong campaign of bribery and corruption, funded by GMR and local entrepreneurs, enabled Nasheed to buy out a number of MPs, including highly vocal ones such as Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy and Thoddoo MP Ali Waheed.

Nasheed cemented his control over the Parliament by buying the the cooperation of Speaker of Majlis Abdulla Shahid and Leader of the Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP), Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, with over USD 3 million, facilitated through GMR.

The fact that Nasheed has had to resort to military detention of a senior judge and intimidation of others judges and the Chief Justice shows that the same deep pockets that paid out millions to Abdulla Shahid, Thasmeen Ali and MPs have so far been unable to buy out the Judiciary.

Nasheed has run a campaign of intimidation against the Judiciary throughout his short regime. The campaign was led by MDP Activist Aishath Velezinee in the JSC and outside the courtrooms. Aishath Velezinee, a known drug addict, led numerous riots outside the courts, JSC sittings and outside judges' homes, intimidating and threatening sitting judges.

Velezine's efforts were supported from the MDP podium by Interim Chair Reeko Moosa Maniku, (Colonel) Nasheed and Mariya Didi. The attack on the Judiciary from the Parliament was led by MPs Thimarafushi Musthafa, Reeko Moosa Maniku and Alhan Fahmy, all whom had ongoing cases against them in the courts.

Nasheed's police, frustrated with Judiciary which prevented them from arbitrary detentions and gross violations of the constitution and law in investigations, put their weight behind the covert and overt threats to Judges by undertaking extra-legal investigations of judges and court officials on hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations.

As with the Parliament until he bought out a majority within it, Nasheed continued to defy judicial rulings, including verdicts on drug offences, possibly because the support of street gangs to Nasheed depend on his clemency. He then resorted to a lockdown on the Supreme Court, getting his Police to put a lock on the Supreme Court offices and prevented Supreme Court Judges from entering the courts.

However, the Judiciary and JSC stood firm in defying Nasheed's influence, bribery and cash handouts, and outright intimidation. By doing so, the Judiciary is preventing Nasheed and his MDP leadership from implementing his promises to his party faithful, to lead the MDP witch hunt against individuals from the previous regime to the MDP's desired end result: criminal verdicts against ex-President Gayoom, his cabinet, top officials and family. It is the Judiciary's obstruction of such pre-determined and dictated rulings that has fired up MDP and their leader Nasheed.

Nasheed's action today on unleashing his MDP Dogs of War on the Chief Justice is just another step to encroach on the independence of the Judiciary. However, it is unlikely that Nasheed's desired result, a 100% replacement of all judges at all courts to people who can be influenced by MDP, can happen by legal means, since judges are protected by the constitution and law from such pressures.

Regardless of this, MDP's end objectives of intimidating judges into MDP pro verdicts will be achieved, unless Presiden Nasheed too is removed from office. President Nasheed today continued his claims that he is the supreme authority in the country. What he fails to understand is that Constitution and Islamic Sharia are the supreme authority in the state. Nasheed's executive authority are not supreme, but on par with the other two powers of the state, the Judiciary and the Parliament.

It is now up to the Legislature and Judiciary, and independent institutions such as the Prosecutor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Human Rights Commission to make the Executive accountable for such crimes against the people and state.

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