A threatening message was left on the door of Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain’s apartment in Hulhumalé after it was vandalised with an axe in the early hours of Tuesday.
The axe was left at the scene and the incident is under investigation, police said. No arrests have been made so far.
Rasheed was appointed acting chief judge of the criminal court last week after Judge Ahmed Hailam was suspended hours before he was due to deliver a verdict in former president Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering trial.
The hearing has been rescheduled for November 17. The criminal court has empanelled a bench of five judges to hear the opposition leader’s case, the acting chief judge announced on Tuesday, citing a request from the defendant. Aside from Rasheed, the panel includes Ahmed Shakeel, Mohamed Sameer, Ali Adam and Hussain Faiz Rashad.
On Thursday, Hailam accused unnamed senior government officials of seeking assurances that Yameen will be sentenced to prison. The watchdog launched a probe into a financial transaction of US$12,995 between the judge and a former lawmaker to tarnish his reputation with bribery allegations for refusing to assure that Yameen would be convicted, he alleged.
He also apologised for sharing the cartoon on the criminal court’s Viber group and insisted that he was unaware of the depictions of the president and speaker.
The president’s spokesman denied Hailam’s allegations as the ruling party chairman urged the judge to reveal the identities of the accused officials.
The opposition Progressive Congress Coalition meanwhile declared that Yameen could not get a fair trial under the current administration. Hailam’s allegation was proof of the government’s attempts to unduly influence the judiciary, opposition leaders told the press on Thursday night. A panel of judges should hear Yameen’s case and Hailam’s allegations should be investigated, former MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said.