The judicial watchdog has appointed a public prosecutor who was involved in the prosecution of high-profile politicians and a former court registrar to the criminal court.
Adam Arif, a senior prosecutor who prosecuted former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, and Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla, was appointed to the criminal court on April 6.
Ali Adam who was a former criminal court registrar for a brief period was also appointed to vacant seat on the court bench.
The appointments come in the wake of an overhaul of the criminal court bench, with Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, Judges Abdulla Nasheed and Ahmed Sameer Abdul Azeez transferred to the family court in recent months.
The Judicial Services Commission also filled in civil court seats made vacant by a spate of resignations. Adam Ibrahim Ismail and Mariyam Waheed were appointed to the bench.
The JSC said the new judges were selected after interviews with 26 out of 27 applicants.
Commenting on prosecutor Arif’s appointment to the criminal court, Hussain Shameem, a former deputy prosecutor general, suggested prosecutors being appointed as judges constituted a conflict of interest.
“There is a regulation which states that a PG lawyer must wait two years until he or she can represent private clients at the criminal court,” he said.
“If the criminal court believes a former prosecutor may be biased or have inside information regarding criminal cases, Arif must also be considered in that light, especially given the high profile cases he has worked on,” Shameem added.
The international community has condemned due process violations in the prosecution of political prisoners, with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention describing Nasheed’s arrest, trial and sentencing “illegal” and “arbitrary.”
Foreign governments and human rights groups have also called for judicial reform and release of political prisoners.
The JSC has meanwhile been criticised for alleged politicisation and failure to address complaints against judges.