54 lawyers suspended over ‘unlawful’ judicial reform petition

54 lawyers suspended over ‘unlawful’ judicial reform petition
September 11 13:14 2017

Fifty-four lawyers who tried to submit a petition outlining serious concerns with the judiciary to the Supreme Court have been indefinitely suspended and barred from appearing in any court in the Maldives.

In an announcement late Sunday night, the Department of Judicial Administration – which functions under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court – contended that the lawyers acted in contravention of the constitution, the Judicature Act, contempt of court rules, and regulations governing the legal profession by “unlawfully” gathering outside the apex court to submit the petition.

The lawyers were suspended pending a contempt of court inquiry and accused of “interfering with the work of the judiciary, attempting to exert influence, writing an unlawful document in violation of the jurisdictions, procedures and judgments of the courts, signing that document, [and] creating difficulties for the Maldivian judiciary”.

The suspended lawyers include former Attorney General Husnu Suood, opposition MPs Mariya Ahmed Didi and Imthiyaz Fahmy, Hassan Latheef, chairman of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, Anas Abdul Sattar, the MDP’s secretary-general, and Ali Zahir, deputy leader of the Adhaalath Party.

Several top defence attorneys who have been representing opposition figures – including 13 lawmakers presently on trial – are also among the lawyers who are now barred from representing their clients in court.

The lawyers tried to submit the petition on August 30 but were turned away by the court’s registrar. The group posed for a photo near the Supreme Court gates and briefed the press about their concerns, which included unfair trial procedures and the ineffectiveness of the judicial watchdog.

The four-party opposition coalition has meanwhile reacted to the unprecedented mass suspension by calling on the international community to consider imposing targeted travel and financial sanctions on Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed.

The coalition – formed between former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and opposition parties – blamed Saeed for the late-night edict from the DJA.

According to the opposition, the suspended lawyers represent 30 percent of licensed practitioners in the Maldives.

“An immediate practical implication of the suspension is that individuals unfairly targeted by President [Abdulla] Yameen’s regime will find it virtually impossible to find effective legal counsel,” reads a joint statement.

Jumhooree Party MP Ali Hussain and Hussain Shameem, a former deputy prosecutor general, who also signed the petition, were previously suspended by the apex court. Shameem was disbarred by the Supreme Court in November 2015 while he was working as the lead defence counsel for former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.

The court went on to seize the authority to regulate the legal profession from the Attorney General’s office.

In a 2013 report, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers had expressed concern over action against lawyers by the courts and highlighted the need for an independent self-regulating bar association to oversee the process of admitting candidates to the legal profession.

Lawyers are left with no avenue for appeal or review when the Supreme Court takes action, she observed.

“The regulation of disciplinary measures against lawyers falls outside the prerogative of the judiciary or any other branch of power and contradicts the principle of independence of the legal profession,” she said.

The judiciary also came under fire over “politicisation,” inadequate qualification of judges, and lack of conformity to international fair trial standards during a review of the human rights situation in the Maldives in May 2015.

The government at the time accepted numerous recommendations put forth at the UN Human Rights Council on reforming the judiciary to ensure impartiality and independence.

In September last year, a former Kenyan chief justice who visited the Maldives as an envoy of the Commonwealth’s secretary-general, had also called for “root and branch judicial reform”.

Dr Willy Mutunga described the Maldivian judiciary as “deeply politicised and compromised, and willing to disregard the principles of natural justice”.

 

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11 Comments

  1. Michael Fahmy
    September 12, 00:28 #1 Michael Fahmy

    We Maldivians are not bad dictators. We are just good Muslims.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bisa Waheed
      September 12, 19:17 Bisa Waheed

      Don’t call yourself a Maldivian or a Muslim, you kafir.

      This is obviously a political issue. At least attempt to make sense.

      Reply to this comment
      • MissIndia
        September 14, 10:21 MissIndia

        Bisa, why are you so disrespectful towards ‘kafirs’ of which I am one? So what is so special about being muslim? I see it as a distinct disadvantage in today’s world. With a name like Bisa Waheed you can expect most countries to deny you a visa. In the US you will be taken to a special room in the arrivals hall for enhanced security and strip searched. They might also ask you to bend over and search your a33, sorry I mean body cavities, for drugs.
        Me, a Hindu cow worshipper, will just be ushered through.
        Muslims need to some bloody repect to non Muslims.

        Reply to this comment
        • Bisa Waheed
          September 14, 22:10 Bisa Waheed

          MissIndia, I travel the world and enjoy life. Me, a measly Muslim has not faced any kind of the horrible treatment you wish I would be subjected to. I have visited US several time while wearing hijab and I haven’t encountered any problems. However, I have seen some Indian men with with mud or something equally disturbing brushed on their foreheads dragged into a security room.
          Kafirs cannot be Maldivians under our law, if you are not aware. I’m not being rude, bitter woman, i’m just calling out the person who is a self confessed kafir, in turn he’s no longer a Maldivian.
          I’m just giggling at your wild imagination and attempt at making sense.
          I respect non muslims plenty, as long as they don’t disrespect Muslims and Islam. Which doesn’t apply to you or Michael Fahmy. Maybe if you send me your email, I’ll send you some pictures of me in US during my next month visit since you seem so ignorant.

          Reply to this comment
          • MissIndia
            September 15, 16:53 MissIndia

            Bisa, so you are a woman! You poor thing! Being a muslim woman is infinitely worse than being a muslim man. Your religion and your culture will treat you like dirt. You will probably spend the rest of your life on some remote atoll gutting fish all day. No shopping malls, no internet, no music, no dancing, no coffee shops, just a bunch of fat old men droning on endlessly about Islam.
            Some of us ‘kafirs’ are quite priveleged, believe it or not. Better educated than you with a lot of personal freedoms to live happy fulfilling lives.
            So glad you were allowed in the last time you visited the US. Why not visit Saudi Arabia and Pakistan instead? You can also have an exciting holiday in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Morocco and Tunisia.
            I am well aware that non muslims cannot become Maldivian citizens. That makes Maldives one of the few backward countries on the planet where this type of discrimination against people of another faith is practised.
            The fact that Hindus don’t have any derogatory words for non Hindus shows how cultured, tolerant and civilised we are. Secular and democratic despite a Hindu majority of 80%.

        • Bisa Waheed
          September 16, 14:33 Bisa Waheed

          MissIndia, you’re sorely mistaken. Muslim women enjoy so much more benefits than any other women. I love my religion and my culture. If I was born a cow or rat worshiper I would have drowned myself than be that stupid.
          You’re proud of a country who kills Muslims just on the suspicion that they ate beef? Who rape kids regularly, who have the most corrupt land? India, who are famous for their discrimination of different states. My friends from the Northeast have told me enough, you poor pathetic woman. Now you are stupid to think they are no derogatory terms in India for other ethnic groups? You are full of ignorance… so what is Katwa, paki etc supposed to be? I feel so sad for you that you don’t know of all the atrocities your own country is involved in. Now, unlike you, I don’t have the time to obsess over another country and be all bitter. Are you in Maldives to feed your family? You make me laugh.You think your country is so educated but their progression and international reputation keeps on dropping. Meanwhile Maldives has more than 90% literacy rate and we keep on progressing. For your information, I’ve been to Saudi and Morocco and my stays were amazing and outstanding, too bad you’ll never to get to see the beauty of those countries, you can only stare at the polluted and rotten water of your “mother Ganga”, I hope Maldivian immigration investigates all of these jealous Indians and etc and screens them properly before letting them in. Our country is 100% Muslim and we’re proud of it. There are so many countries who allow the Western popularized concept of religious freedom that only opens door for conflicts and crimes. Go obsess over them instead of being so pathetically devoted to been bitter about Maldives. For your information, I’m a marine engineer working in a multinational company but I would love to gut fish for the rest of my life in a beautiful atoll, you think that’s something I would be ashamed of? Well, you’re wrong darling. Jealousy is a disease, by the way.

          Reply to this comment
  2. dheyo
    September 12, 12:27 #2 dheyo

    It’s not surprising, few things are these days, but just hard to wrap my head around how these people can make such obviously toxic decisions, just for brief win. Its a miracle they can make it out of bed, given that they don’t see anything beyond the tip of their nose.

    Reply to this comment
    • MissIndia
      September 16, 15:59 MissIndia

      Bisa, you bitter old crone! No I do not live or work in the Maldives. Why do you pathetic mallus assume all Indians who comment here are in Maldives to ‘feed their families’? My English language skills should give you an idea as to my social class. I could probably afford to feed half of Male City on my income. Or is that Male Shitty? probably the most overcrowded and violent capital city in the world.
      You’ve got your priorities wrong love. It is the immigration authorities in India that need to keep Maldivians out, all of them. No students, no medical tourists, no jihadis, no overweight hijab wearing marine engineers.
      Why don’t you go to Pakistan instead? You have so much in common. Same intolerant religion, same unstable government, same drugged up youth, same dumb belief you have arab ancestry. You are like twins separated at birth.
      Maldives is totally dependent on indian imports for its daily requirements including drinking water and always will be. Your population and economy equals that of a suburb of Mumbai. I find it incredible that a Maldivian can even THINK about being the equal of an Indian.
      So get off your high horse, put your hijab on and go gut some fish.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bisa Waheed
        September 16, 17:32 Bisa Waheed

        MissIndia, now I feel seriously bad for you! You are supposedly that wealthy yet you can’t help all the poverty filled villages and states in your country instead of obsessing about us? I’m not even from Male’ so I cannot help but again laugh at your stupidity.
        By the way, your English skills are mediocre at best and we Maldivians don’t judge people by their ability at knowing a basic language like English. As expected, you glorify US and English, now that is embarrassing. My economic state is very healthy, my monthly trips around the globe can tell you that and so can my ability to speak in 9 languages. “Mallu” and ‘Overweight” those are such funny insults considering their inaccuracy. India and Maldives have extremely good relations since ages ago, just because of some jealous coot like yourself the Indian Government isn’t going to do anything like what you want them to do. All the Indian colleges and companies begging me to work in their establishments are proof enough. Why wouldn’t I visit Pakistan? I definitely would. Right after my visit to India to see my amazing and humble Indian friends. Because I can and I have that privilege, all you are going to do is furiously type some bitter comment and glare at your computer while counting your nonexistent money. Also, nobody here thinks they have Arab ancestry except some Atolls have concrete evidence they do have Arab and Chinese Ancestry. The fact you base all your judgement on Maldives based off just Male’ is pathetic. My atoll has a heavy African ancestry background and I’m proud of it. I’m not going to be stupid and uneducated like you by being xenophobic and saying strange 10 year old statements like “you cannot even imagine to be as great as I” that really show your class, MissIndia. The one who needs to get off her cow is you. I will gladly go gut some fish, again, that isn’t an insult or some smart one-liner, you are such a joke!

        Reply to this comment
        • MissIndia
          September 17, 00:03 MissIndia

          Bisa, like most Maldivians you are so full of yourselves its embarrassing! Why is it that the people of teeny weeny, inconsequential and backward countries have such an exaggerated sense of self worth? If you asked 1000 people around the world where the Maldives was located, 999 people would say they’ve never heard of the place!
          This argument started with your rude and arrogant put down on a former Maldivian who has renounced his nationality and religion. You have no business calling him a kafir. What makes you so bloody special?
          I am so pleased you are not a resident of Male Shitty. Living conditions on the atolls must be even worse.
          I am disappointed a pompous old cow like you has been given a travel visa for India.
          Do us all a favour and make it your last trip.

          Reply to this comment
  3. Bisa Waheed
    September 17, 09:08 #3 Bisa Waheed

    MissIndia, the one making arrogant statements here is you. I see that you clearly lost this argument or whatever. You are a fake intellectual and it shows. Maldives may be backwards but it isn’t as backwards as India for sure. I’m so happy I was born as a Maldivian woman. Do you seriously live in the past? It’s just Indians who are not aware of Maldives, then. Because where ever I go, people tell me they wish they can visit Maldives. We are a world-class tourist nation and we are always top ranked in countries where people are actually modern and don’t fake it like you.
    I have used my freedom of speech to calling out a non Muslim and non Maldivian who thought he can speak for us when he clearly lost that right, what amasses YOU so BLOODY special to think you can cosplay as his defense lawyer or something? Be as disappointed as you want because I’ll get the visa multiple times and there will be nothing a cow like you can do. Do Maldivians a favor and go focus on all the atrocities of your corrupt country instead of being creepily obsessed and BITTER about us. You are truly pathetic.

    Reply to this comment

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