The supreme court issued Monday an order disbarring prominent lawyer Husnu Suood and opposition MP Ali Hussein from practising law, pending an investigation into contempt charges.
The disbarment was “temporary,” the Department of Judicial Administration said.
The move followed a supreme court statement which warned of action, expressing concern over “currents of lawlessness” resulting from challenges to court orders.
Suood, who most recently represented former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the legal battle for the control of the ruling party, subsequently declared that “the voice of justice and human rights cannot be silenced.
Supreme court has disbarred me! Voice of justice and human rights cannot be silenced. pic.twitter.com/eQwwr4Vg6K
— Husnu Al Suood (@hsuood) October 31, 2016
Hussain, an MP with the Jumhooree Party, said he was not aware he was under investigation for contempt charges.
“I do not know anything, I have not been asked to go there [the supreme court], I don’t know why and I don’t know for how long this suspension will last. I only heard about it from people who called to ask me about it,” Hussain said.
The JP, a minor opposition party, has thrown its support behind Gayoom in the leadership row.
The supreme court in November 2015 disbarred prominent lawyer, Hussain Shameem, the lead defence counsel former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who was charged over an alleged plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen.
The apex court has now seized the authority to regulate the legal profession, and has routinely warned lawyers against criticism of verdicts.
In its statement on Sunday, the court said “clear and concise decisions by the courts are being interpreted against legal standards” for political and personal interests, obstructing law and order and threatening public safety and security.
Earlier in October, the criminal court suspended the license of human rights lawyer Nazim Sattar for six months.
The former UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, in a 2013 report, expressed concern over action against lawyers by the courts and highlighted the need for an independent self-regulating bar association.
“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.