The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Maldives, James Dauris, stated that he had heard many concerns about the current court rulings, and procedures in relation to the current trials of senior judges and political leaders in the island nation.
In a tweet, he said that he is “Leaving #Maldives having heard about so many people’s concerns that court rules and procedures are being ignored in the on-going trials of senior judges and political leaders.”
The ambassador also highlighted that “citizens in every country need the courts to act as independent and impartial checks on power”.
Leaving #Maldives having heard about so many people’s concerns that court rules and procedures are being ignored in the on-going trials of senior judges and political leaders.
Citizens in every country need the courts to act as independent and impartial checks on power.
— James Dauris (@JamesDauris) May 7, 2018
Dauris had previously called on politicians interfering with court proceedings. At that time he had said that the rights of politicians and judges need to be protected.
During his time in the archipelago, Dauris met with officials from opposition parties and Maldives Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareeru to discuss the current political situation.
During his stay in the Maldives, the Criminal Court has on 8 May sentenced Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed to four months and 24 days in prison on charges of interfering with government operations. Saeed was charged with obstructing the administration of law or other government function, by obstructing the conduct of public office.
This marks the first time a chief justice was convicted of a criminal offence in the history of the Maldives.
During the pendency of the trial, the Maldives parliament had passed an amendment to the Judicature Act, which automatically removes justices from the post if they are convicted of a criminal offence after the conclusion of the appeal process.
Maldives police on 7 February accused Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and his companion Judge Ali Hameed along with former President Maumoon Gayoom of plotting a coup to overthrow the government of President Abdulla Yameen.
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