The government denied the suspension of the accusations of Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam that he was dismissed for refusing to comply with the demands of top officials of state.
Judge Hailam presided over the money laundering case of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and was set to issue a decision on Tuesday’s court. He was, though, suspended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) merely hours before the hearing on a contentious Victory Day greeting exchanged by the Judge with a social network group from the Recreation Club of the Criminal Court.
The illustration portrayed the hero of Victory Day, Martyr Hussain Adam dragging President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed, Parliament Speaker, and those convicted for the terror attack on November 3, 1988, with chains wrapped around their necks.
A statement released by Hailam after the suspension said several attempts have been made directly and indirectly by government officials of various ranks to manipulate him since the trial began for President Yameen. Multiple attempts were made particularly on November 3-4 by top government officials, Hailam said. The trial was scheduled for November 5.
“Top government officials directly messaged and called me, and contacted me through close acquaintances and requested to confirm if President Yameen will be jailed. When I said I cannot give such a confirmation, they warned that the police were aware of the transaction between Alhan and I. They threatened to pursue the case if I didn’t cooperate, and also threatened to suspend me,” said Hailam.
JSC reported on Wednesday that a financial transaction of MVR 200,000 between Judge Hailam and former Feydhoo MP Ahmed Alhan was being examined by the committee. Although this transaction took place on May 19 this year, JSC was notified by the police on Tuesday about the transaction. The Maldives Monetary Authority of the Central Bank tipped off the police on July 25.
The President’s Office spokesperson, Ibrahim Hood refuted Hailam’s allegations, saying that the government had not tried to influence any judge, and stated that the government would have no impact on the judiciary in any way. He said the government would not take any action that would impede the independence of the judiciary.
Judge Hailam has claimed that the acting Chief of the Criminal Court, Ali Rasheed Hussein, will now be wary of attempts to influence the trial.
Nonetheless, in interviews with several newspapers, Judge Ali Rasheed dismissed these allegations. The judge said there was no pressure on the courts from the government.
Several lawyers view Judge Ali Rasheed approaching the press in this manner as a violation of a judge’s standard of conduct.