The Supreme Court has suspended detained Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s lawyer, Hussain Shameem, on a charge of contempt of court.
In a statement tonight, the apex court said Shameem’s law license has been temporarily revoked as judges investigate alleged violations of the apex court’s regulation on lawyers.
The Supreme Court had summoned Shameem today, hours after the government declared a state of emergency in the Maldives and suspended constitutional provisions on Adeeb’s upcoming impeachment vote.
Shameem, who is out of the country, was not able to attend the 4pm meeting. “I will be happy to answer any questions,” he tweeted.
Adeeb, detained on suspicion of links to the September 28 explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat, is facing impeachment. He has denied involvement in the blast and called for an impartial inquiry.
Yameen today shortened the constitutionally provided 14 day period for Adeeb to answer charges at the parliament to seven days.
A two-third majority or 57 votes of the 85-member house is required to impeach Adeeb, but the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has so far only mustered 52 votes.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has declared that it would not back the impeachment.
With the suspension of the provisions in the constitution, the impeachment vote, scheduled to take place next week, is likely to take place within a few days.
A lawyer familiar with the matter said: “Since the 14 day notice was given to the vice president before the state of emergency was declared, Adeeb should legally get 14 days. The state of emergency declaration cannot be applied retrospectively.”
In declaring the state of emergency, Yameen has suspended all basic rights and given the security forces sweeping powers to arrest suspects and conduct raids without warrants.
At least 11 individuals have been arrested in the boat blast probe. The defence minister and police chief have been sacked, and more than a dozen homes and two islands have been raided.
The security forces also say they defused a bomb found in Malé and seized a large cache of weapons on Friday from an uninhabited island leased to a businessman linked to Adeeb. The haul included firearms missing from the state armory, hand grenades and homemade bombs.
Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found no evidence of an explosive device on the boat. But, Home Minister Umar Naseer, citing expert opinion from Sri Lankans, forensic analysis by Saudi Arabians and evidence gathered by the Maldives police, said the blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president.
A joint police and military inquiry commission is investigating the incident.
This article was updated at 8:30pm on November 4, 2015.