All three of former vice president’s lawyers suspended

All three of former vice president’s lawyers suspended
November 14 16:46 2015

The police were unable to interrogate detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb yesterday with all three of his lawyers suspended, his lawyer Hussain Shameem said today.

The Supreme Court has suspended Shameem and Ahmed Thalib from appearing in any court while the police barred lawyer Ali Nadheem from meeting Adeeb at the Dhoonidhoo detention centre.

Speaking at a press conference today, Shameen said new lawyers will be hired and sent to meet Adeeb at the detention centre tomorrow.

“If they are suspended, we will sent new lawyers again,” he said.

Shameem said his colleague Nadheem – who has since left the legal team – was barred from meeting Adeeb over a letter from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The police accused Nadheem of trying to hand over documents to Adeeb that were unrelated to the case.

Shameem explained that the MDP had replied to a letter from Adeeb about his impeachment by parliament on November 5. The former vice president had written to all other parties as well as the parliament secretariat over the issue, he added, but only the opposition party has replied so far.

Shameem said giving the letter to Adeeb would not have been illegal as it was related to his case, stressing that it was not handed over but kept in a locker with the lawyers’ phones and other belongings.

After taking over powers to regulate the legal profession from the Attorney General’s office, the Supreme Court meanwhile suspended lawyer Ahmed Thalib on Thursday night. The apex court said it was investigating allegations of ethical misconduct.

Adeeb is under police custody on suspicion of links to the September 28 blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat.

The government says a bomb targeting the president caused the explosion. Yameen escaped unhurt.

Adeeb denies any involvement in the alleged assassination attempt. He is also facing prosecution on charges of weapons smuggling and bribing police intelligence officers.

Shameem said today that the police have questioned Adeeb about the “Finifema” speedboat blast only once since his arrest on October 24.

“Police have not shown any evidence connecting Ahmed Adeeb to the matter nor have they asked any questions except for the questioning on the second day of his arrest,” he said.

He also revealed that family members are not able to meet and talk with Adeeb directly during visits to Dhoonidhoo.

“Family meets Ahmed Adeeb through a barrier now. They have to talk on a phone. Adeeb is inside a room and the family members have to stay outside and talk through a phone,” he said, expressing concern with secret surveillance of the conversations.

Shameem also reiterated criticism of the impeachment process, which he contends was “unconstitutional.”

In the MDP’s letter, Shameem said the party’s parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had acknowledged that due process was not followed.

Adeeb was not provided an opportunity to defend himself. In his state of emergency decree, President Yameen also shortened the constitutionally-mandated period for the vice president to respond to charges from 14 days to seven days.

Shameem said Adeeb was not given notice ahead of the vote.

Asked what course of action the legal team will pursue over the impeachment, Shameem said: “It is such a simple matter, a clear violation of due process that we do not wish to waste the Supreme Court’s time by asking them to deliberate on the matter.”

He also repeated criticism of the criminal court holding remand hearings via video conference without bringing Adeeb to Malé. The constitution requires trials to be held in open courtrooms with access to the public, he noted.

Efforts are currently underway to establish teleconferencing facilities at the detention centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo, which is 15 minutes by speedboat from the capital.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the impeachment vote, the Supreme Court had indefinitely suspended Shameem from appearing in court pending the outcome of an investigation by the apex court. He is accused of contempt of court, lack of professionalism and independence, expressing opinions contemptuous of court orders, and advocating against the “clear and evident truth.”

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