Maldives: Presiding judge says detained chief justice would be tried without following criminal procedure

All civilized nations have a code of procedure to deal with criminal offences, try the offenders, announce the guilt and impose commensurate punishment. But, this is certainly not the case in the Maldives since the archipelago has been brought under the state of emergency on 5 February.

Mahfooz Saeed, the lawyer of detained Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, contends that no trial can be valid when it is held while the criminal procedure is suspended. The Criminal procedure has been suspended under the ongoing state of emergency.

While the trials of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and other jailed politicians have begun during the state of emergency, the Criminal Court judge presiding over the Chief Justice’s trial has said that he will proceed with the hearings as he sees fit, and not according to any written procedure.

Raajje TV quoted lawyer Mahfooz Saeed saying that neither the Constitution nor any law allows such trial. He said the trials have to be stopped immediately and that the judge should acknowledge that hearings can’t be held without the criminal procedure.

At a press conference held by the Joint Opposition, he expressed concern that Jumhoree Party (JP)’s deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz has been jailed until his trial.

He also said that MP Faris Maumoon is being kept in jail arbitrarily and that the state has no evidence either against him or his father and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Faris’ lawyer Mohamed Faisal on early Tuesday publicly denounced the decision of the police to suspend visits from legal representatives. While the police have now slashed visits from lawyers since Monday, they have attempted to conduct his interrogation without the presence of his lawyers.

He said when the MP refused to answer any question without his lawyers; police violent dragged him out of his cell resulting in the lawyer getting injured.

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