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#Maldives: #MDP led-Parliamentary Subcommittee summons Judges on Nasheed's criminal case

#Maldives: Following ex-President Mohamed Nasheed's arrest, the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Government has summoned the three majistrates concerned to appear before it tomorrow at 3.45 pm. Nasheed's trial hearing is scheduled for 4 pm. Nasheed's party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) holds a majority on the Parliamentary Subcommittee which is headeed by an MDP MP Ali Waheed (MP for Thoddoo constituency).

Nasheed's arrest today was in conjunction by an arrest warrant issued by the court in conjunction with his non-appearance in court in the criminal case brought against him by the country's independent Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizzu. The charges are raised for the military arrest and detention of a judge upon Nasheed's orders while he was President of the country. Nasheed had violated two court orders in the case and departed on campiagn publicly declaring that the court was illegal and that he would not obey any summons by it.

MP Ali Waheed has told media that the summons for the three Majistrates on the bench for Nasheed's trial were summoned in an investigation into the report by the Commission on National Inquiry (CoNI). The CoNI, an internationally accepted commission, was entrusted to investigate the issues around and leading to the resignation of former President Nasheed.

The decision for the summons was taken at a sudden closed meeting of the Parliamentary Subcommittee which met at a time that a vote was being called on the Parliament floor. MPs supporting the current government allege that the Committee meeting was timed so that they could not participate.

The Consul General of the Parliament Fathimath Filza told media today that, even though the decision to summon the three judges had been taken by the subcommittee, the summons could only be issued by the Speaker. She added that Speaker of Majlis Abdulla Shahid had not yet received the decision of the subcommitte and hence had not yet taken a decision on the matter. She said that the Parliament would issue a press release tonight after the Speaker's decision on the issue.

The Constitution of the Maldives states "No officials performing public functions, or any other persons, shall interfere with and influence the functions of the courts" (Article 141 (c)). It remains to be seen whether this Article will apply to the attempt by the MDP to intimidate the judges in Nasheed's criminal trial.

In the meantime, Nasheed's lawyers have submitted appeals to the Criminal Court that Nasheed's arrest was illegal. Days before, the same legal team gave a press conference in which they announced that they did not recognize any court in the Maldives as legal or valid, and hence would not appear before any court nor act upon any summons by any court in the Maldives. However, the same legal team led by former Youth Minister Hassan Latheef today appeared before the Civil Court in the civil case brought against Nasheed by current Defence Minister Nazim.

Media report that Nasheed has been lodged at Dhoonidhoo Island by the Maldives Police Service.

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