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Prominent lawyer suspended for criticising Supreme Court

Suood was suspended over a tweet that called a Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional.



Husnu Suood has been suspended for criticising the Supreme Court and barred from representing clients in any Maldivian court or tribunal for four months.

Suood was suspended over a tweet in which he declared the Supreme Court’s ruling to extend the presidential term in November 2013 was unconstitutional, the Department of the Judicial Administration announced Tuesday evening.

After questioning Suood over the tweet and its coverage by Vnews, the DJA decided that the tweet amounted to a violation of the regulation governing the conduct of licensed lawyers.

The DJA functions under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court.

“Too bad the judges are a little too sensitive,” Suood tweeted after the announcement.

Suood has been under suspension since September 25 when the DJA launched the inquiry into the tweet.

The former attorney general – who was also suspended for contempt of court in November 2016 and for signing a judicial reform petition in September 2017 – said the number of days he has remained suspended was unclear, “but it has certainly damaged my law practice.”

On Wednesday morning, the DJA summoned opposition MP Ali Hussain for questioning over remarks made on VTV about a Supreme Court order issued on Wednesday night.

Last month, Hussain Shameem, a former deputy prosecutor general, was suspended for the third time over a tweet.

In February 2016, the Supreme Court authorised judges to suspend lawyers found guilty of contempt of court for up to six months.

A fine of MVR100,000 (US$6,485) could also be imposed for spoken or written words as well as deeds and gestures committed inside or outside a courtroom that portray the judiciary in a negative light.

The contempt of court rules also cover an utterance or action that demeans a court, a judge, or court officer, and criticising or berating a court or a judge, or committing any act that causes loss of respect and dignity of a court or a judge, or attempting to bring the court into disrepute.