President Nasheed’s Legal Team Barred From Respresenting Him

On 14th October 2012 President Nasheed’s legal team received a letter from Hulhumale’
Magistrate Court stating that two members of the team, Mr. Hassan Latheef and Mr. Ahmed
Abdullah Afeef, have been barred from representing President Nasheed in court.

Mr. Hassan Latheef was debarred as Nasheed’s lawyer as he is “one of the witnesses submitted by the prosecution to prove the case” against President Nasheed according to a letter sent by the Hulhumale Magistrate Court. However, Mr. Latheef’s testimony is submitted by the prosecution as a witness to prove that Abdullah Mohamed was at Girifushi Island. Abdullah Mohamed’s presence at Girifushi is an undisputed fact, and therefore there should be no conflict arising from Mr. Latheef’s presence on the legal team. Additionally, there are many other witnesses who could be used to prove this fact. While the regulation invoked by court to restrict Mr. Latheef from representing President Nasheed also requires all lawyers from registering at each of the
courts that they attend, Hulhumale Magistrate Court has ignored the regulation in that respect.

The letter from Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court states that Mr. Afeef had been debarred as he had not signed and registered the “declaration of allegiance to the judiciary” under the newly publicized circular on conduct of lawyers (Circular number SC/01/2012) of the Supreme Court. This Supreme Court circular states that lawyers cannot comment or express an opinion on any of the proceedings of the court or judgments, or any of their rulings or on-going hearings. A case has been filed at the Judicial Service Commission regarding the requirement to sign the declaration. The reason that Mr. Afeef has not signed this declaration included in the aforementioned circular is because of the question about the validity of this circular.


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