Secret trial for top judges

Secret trial for top judges
April 12 14:11 2018

Thursday’s hearing in the trial of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed has been closed to the media and public.

Reporters were informed that the first hearing on charges of influencing official conduct would be secret when they went to register at the criminal court.

But pre-trial hearings earlier this week for the Supreme Court justices and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on separate obstruction of justice charges were open.

Gayoom, Saeed and Hameed are also facing trial on terrorism charges over an alleged conspiracy to oust President Abdulla Yameen. They were detained for the duration of the terrorism trials, which have yet to commence.

The top judges have also been charged with accepting bribes.

Yameen’s administration contends that the Supreme Court instigated a coup and triggered a constitutional crisis with its February 1 order for the release of his jailed opponents and the reinstatement of opposition lawmakers.

Along with Gayoom, Saeed and Hameed were arrested hours after Yameen invoked emergency powers on February 5 and suspended constitutional rights and legal immunities for judges.

The judicial watchdog suspended the pair without pay last week.

The charge of influencing official conduct carries a jail sentence of more than nine months. If convicted of terrorism, the judges could face up to 15 years in prison.

Saeed is the first chief justice in modern Maldivian history to face criminal prosecution.

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