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New member appointed to Maldives judicial watchdog

The 10-member commission is tasked with investigating complaints against judges.



President Abdulla Yameen has appointed Mohamed Saleem as his new representative on the Judicial Service Commission.

The lawyer took the oath of office at the president’s office Tuesday morning.

Saleem, who is also a member of the president’s Commission on State Assets Recovery, previously served as former president Dr Mohamed Waheed’s representative on the judicial watchdog in 2013.

In June 2013, Saleem was removed from the commission after police sought to charge him with extortion and racketeering along with four others. It was alleged that Saleem was part of a group that threatened two people with physical violence, committed physical violence, stole and damaged property in order to force them to pay back a loan.

It is not clear why Saleem was never charged. A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s office was unavailable for comment.

A month before police forwarded the case for prosecution, Saleem denied any connection to the alleged crime or criminal gangs.

He replaces the former vice president of the JSC, who resigned from the post and was appointed to the High Court bench last week.

The JSC is comprised of three judges nominated by their peers from the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the trial courts as well as the attorney general, a presidential appointee, the chair of the Civil Service Commission, the speaker of parliament, a lawmaker nominated by parliament, a member of the public chosen by parliament, and a lawyer elected by licensed practitioners.

The 10-member commission is tasked with investigating complaints against judges and taking disciplinary action.

Following a visit to the Maldives in 2013, Gabriella Knaul, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, had reported near-unanimous consensus that the composition of the JSC was “inadequate and politicised.”

“Because of this politicisation, the commission has allegedly been subjected to all sorts of external influence and has consequently been unable to function properly,” she wrote.