Top judge suspended

Top judge suspended
February 23 14:36 2016

The watchdog Judicial Service Commission suspended Monday a senior judge after he criticised the appointment of two controversial judges to the appellate high court.

Chief Judge of the Family Court, Hassan Saeed, was indefinitely suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of misconduct, the JSC said in a statement on its website.

The complaint filed by an MP of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives alleged that Saeed had said that Judges Abdulla Didi and Sujau Usman, promoted to the High Court last year, were the “most corrupt judges in the world,” report local media.

Saeed was summoned to the JSC on Monday.

Didi, who now heads the High Court, and his colleague Usman are under fire for their involvement in the jailing of former President Mohamed Nasheed in March. A UN human rights panel has declared the 13-year jail term illegal and politically motivated.

A UN expert on the independence of judges and lawyers had previously expressed concern over the JSC’s “politicised composition.”

Earlier this month, the JSC also transferred Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed to the Family Court during a late-night meeting. The oversight body did not offer any reasons for the change.

Judge Abdulla had played an outsized role in Maldivian politics during the past eight years.

In October last year, he held a secret meeting with President Abdulla Yameen a week before the arrest of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on suspicion of plotting to assassinate the president.

Judge Abdul Bari Yousuf, the third judge involved in Nasheed’s jailing, was meanwhile put in charge of the criminal court as acting chief judge. Bari sentenced Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla to 12 years in jail in mid-February over a speech made during a historic opposition rally.

The JSC meanwhile never took action against Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed despite multiple videos that appear to show the judge fornicating with three foreign women in a Colombo hotel room.

Hameed continued to issue rulings, including a ruling annulling the 2013 presidential polls, during the course of the investigation.

He now chairs the JSC.