President Nasheed returned to Male’ this afternoon from an on going campaign visit to Raa atoll, to attend a hearing at the High Court, which was unexpectedly cancelled, three hours prior to the hearing. Today’s hearing was on the case filed by President Nasheed’s legal team contesting the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court bench overseeing the politically motivated trial against President Nasheed.
The Office of President Nasheed strongly condemns the actions of the State to disrupt the Maldivian Democratic Party’s Presidential campaign through the use of politically motivated judicial actions.
It is with regret that the Office of President Nasheed notes that his request for leave was not granted, while the High Court is also yet to provide President Nasheed’s legal team with a schedule of court hearings. In addition to these issues, the Office of President Nasheed is deeply concerned by the actions of the Judicial Service Commission to summon the Chief Judge of the High Court, who also presides over President Nasheed’s case contesting the legitimacy of the JSC appointed Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court bench. Actions such as these are seen as thinly veiled attempts at influencing the Judiciary.
President Nasheed’s spokesperson, Mariya Did stated, ‘we condemn the actions of the Maldivian courts, which violate the electoral rights of nearly 50,000 Maldivian Democratic Party members. Today’s disruption to President Nasheed’s campaign trip to Raa atoll is an unnecessary, politically motivated challenge. The JSC continues to try and cover up the unconstitutional manner in which they appointed the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court bench through attempts at influencing the judiciary, while the Courts create logistical challenges such as today’s. However, it does not stop affect the spirit of President Nasheed’s campaign.’
A comprehensive report on the Maldivian Judiciary compiled by Gabriella Knaul, United National Special Rapporteur for Independence of Judges and Lawyers, published on 21 May states, ‘the trial of the former President [Nasheed] raises serious concerns regarding the fairness of proceedings. She believes that the constitutionality of the Hulhumalé Court is questionable and that the bench of judges which was constituted to hear Mr. Nasheed’s case also seems to have been set up in an arbitrary manner, without following procedures set by law.’