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Parliamentary committee condemns judge for ‘encouraging torture’

Judge Hailam shared a cartoon of the president and speaker in chains.



Parliament’s human rights committee has condemned the criminal court’s suspended chief judge for sharing a cartoon of the president and speaker of parliament with a chain around their necks.

Judge Ahmed Hailam was suspended last week for posting the image as a Victory Day greeting card on the criminal court’s Viber group.

The image depicted “cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment” as an act of punishment, the committee said in a press statement on Saturday, adding that the “act of flagrant misconduct” by the judge violated the domestic anti-torture law and the UN Convention Against Torture.

“Hence, the committee  is unanimous in its view that the conduct of the chief judge of the criminal court is a violation of human dignity as it unequivocally encourages cruel and inhumane treatment,” the committee said.

The Judicial Service Commission suspended Hailam over the cartoon last week – hours before he was due to deliver a verdict in former president Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering trial – and launched a separate probe into a financial transaction of US$12,995 between the judge and former MP Alhan Fahmy in May.

On Thursday, Hailam accused the watchdog of defaming him over his refusal to assure unnamed government officials that Yameen would be sentenced to prison. He apologised for sharing the cartoon and insisted that he was unaware of the depictions of the president and speaker.

Hailam’s allegation was proof of the government’s attempts to influence the trial, the opposition coalition said. Opposition figures have also criticised the human rights committee for releasing a press statement against the judge.