The top judge in the Maldives has denied accepting multi-million dollar bribes and attempting to overthrow the government, his lawyers said Thursday.
Hisaan Hussain and MP Maariya Ahmed Didi, who represent Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, told reporters that their client said the charges against him were baseless and false.
The lawyers said police had not questioned him once, despite the serious allegations and charges.
“He has denied all the charges against him. He reiterates that he has not done anything unlawful,” Hisaan said.
The charges against Saeed are taking bribes to issue partisan legal rulings, abusing the power of his authority to unlawfully overthrow the government and obstruction of the administration of state duties and the criminal justice system.
Hisaan said police met Saeed only once after he was arrested during the early hours of February 6, a week ago.
“Police informed him of the charges and when the chief justice denied all the charges as baseless, they told him he can’t say that [the charges are baseless] since it has not been established that the charges are baseless,” said Hisaan, who was also at the meeting.
“To be able to deny a charge is a very basic right. When he was told that he can’t use that right, he did not respond.”
The lawyers have submitted a motion to the criminal court, challenging the detention of the chief justice as unlawful.
Saeed was arrested after the Supreme Court issued a ruling that freed nine opposition leaders and reinstated an opposition majority in the parliament, a blow to the government of President Abdulla Yameen.
After refusing to enforce the ruling for days, Yameen declared a state of emergency and arrested the Supreme Court’s two top judges. The remaining three judges annulled the parts of the ruling that were unfavourable to Yameen.
Speaking at a Wednesday night ruling party rally Yameen repeatedly defended his decision to ignore the earlier Supreme Court decision, saying he had prevented bloodshed by not enforcing it.
“Surely, my supporters will not remain silent when all these criminals [nine opposition leaders] are freed. People will come out from [among] them [ruling party supporters] too. What will happen then? We will go in to an inhumane conflict. Maybe the result of that would go up to slaughter,” Yameen said.