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Maldives HC suspends all trials over Judge’s arrest

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A day after the Maldivian High Court said it will look into the legitimacy of lower court bench trying former President Mohamed Nasheed, Hulhumale Magistrate Court today suspened all trials pertaining to the arrest and subsequent detention of Chief Criminal Judge.

High Court had yesterday stayed temporarily the trial against Nasheed at the Hulhumale Court until it can decide over the legitimacy of the lower court’s bench. The temporary injunction was granted after Nasheed asked the High Court to declare the composition of the Hulhumale Court bench unlawful.

The Court confirmed today that the trials of all five people, including Nasheed charged with Judge Abdulla Mohamed’ arrest had been suspended, Haveeru daily reported.

In addition to the former President, former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, Brigadier General retired Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad have been charged with arresting Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

The Hulhumale Court was scheduled to hear the matter tomorrow. The arrest of the Judge Mohamed had let to protests from various sections in Maldives that eventually led to the ouster of Nasheed.

The composition of the three Judge bench of the Hulhumale Court by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has been up for much debate recently and is also being probed by the Parliament’s Independent Bodies Committee.

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has maintained that Nasheed’s trial is a “politically motivated sham” designed to disqualify him from the upcoming presidential election slated for September 7.

If convicted and sentenced to more than one year in prison, Nasheed would be barred from leading MDP into the presidential polls.

Meanwhile, judges of the High Court have filed complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef over his decision to temporarily suspend Nasheed’s trial.

Moving the JSC, the judicial watchdog here that had set up the bench trying Nasheed in an abuse of power case, the judges of the High Court said the order signed by the Chief Judge had been issued while the case “had not even been registered at the Court nor was it discussed with the other judges”, the Haveeru reported.

“It is just an administrative issue. Apparently, the judges were not happy with the way the case was consulted with other judges.

“Hence, they have filed a complaint with the JSC which looks after the administration of the judiciary,” a government source said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130403/maldives-hc-suspends-all-trials-over-judge-s-arrest