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#Maldives: exPresident Nasheed's trial judges summoned before MDP-led Parliamentary Committee

#Maldives: The three judges presiding over ex-President Nasheed's trial have been arbitrarily summoned to appear before a Parliamentary Committee just 15 minutes before trial is scheduled to begin. The Parliamentary Subcommittee has a majority of MPs belonging to Nasheed' party Maldivian Democratic Party, and is led by MDP MP Ali Waheed (MP for Thoddoo Constituency). Nasheed is facing criminal charges for ordering the military arrest and detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdullah Mohamed. The case was brought against him, together with four others, by the country's independent Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu. The PG's case is built upon an investigation by Maldives Human Rights Commission, another independent body appointed by the Parliament.

The Parliamentary Committee's summons has been transmitted to the three judges by Speaker Abdulla Shahid. The Supreme Court and the Judicial Services Commission, an independent body entrusted with judicial administration in the country, last night issued press statement denouncing the summons as unconstitutional and illegal. Both bodies stated that judicial independence should be upheld and no person should interfere with due judicial process (Article 141 of the Constitution). However, a statement by the Parliament today counteracted these arguments with reference to the constitutional powers of the Parliament and "general practice" in democratic societies.

Critics of the Committee's summons include Committee member MP Ahmed Nihan (MP for Vilimaafannu Constituency) who notes that the summons is beyond the mandate of the Committee. The Committee's mandate is on General Matters relating to the Government. The summoned judges belong to a separate power, the Judiciary. The Speaker's media release did not make reference to the mandate of the Committee.

MP Ali Waheed, who is reported to have demanded and received US 3 million dollars from Nasheed to crossover from rival Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP) in 2010, also heads the Parliamentary Subcommittee on National Security (241 Committee). This Committee last night summoned Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz for a second time, the reason for the summons is unknown. In the case of the unlawful arrest and detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed for which Nasheed is today facing criminal charges, MP Ali Waheed summoned the Prosecutor General and the Human Rights Commission of Maldives to the 241 Committee. Media reports at the time report that the Committee session was dominated by MDP members who harangued the PG and HRCM members for beginning the investigation into the judge's arrest. MP Ali Waheed himself is currently facing charges in court for defying police orders and crossing the police line at a demonstration.

With Nasheed's trial scheduled to start in 30 minutes time, the legal and illegal maneuverings of his party and supporters continue unabated with the latest being a false report published by Amnesty International on Nasheed's arrest. The Maldives Police have released video footage which shows that the Amnesty report was fabricated and disproved Amnesty's allegations. Maldivians on Twitter have strongly condemned the repeated false reports being publicised by Amnesty International on the Maldives.






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