Maldives crisis: CJ's lawyers express concerns over arbitrary arrest

ANI | Updated: Feb 08, 2018 15:39 IST

Male [Maldives], Feb 8 (ANI): The lawyers for Chief Justice of the Maldives Abdulla Saeed have expressed grave concerns over the continued arbitrary detention of the Chief Justice.

A statement by the lawyers, said that the Chief Justice was detained on February 6 at around 3 am by masked security personnel loyal to Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen and that no further explanations or warrant were produced at the time of arrest.

The statement added that Justice Saeed was forcefully dragged on the floor from his chambers by uniformed security personnel in riot gear after he told them they were in contempt of court and were in violation of the constitution, he was later taken to Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre where he continues to be incarcerated.

Justice Saeed had informed his lawyers that immediately after the SC ruling on February 1, he received a number of threats, including a call saying they would cut him to pieces unless he reversed the ruling, the statement continued.

The Chief Justice was given access to his lawyers about 12 hours after his arbitrary arrest.

"The Chief Justice of the Maldives is being unconstitutionally detained. This Executive encroachment of judicial powers is a blatant violation and completely erodes the doctrine of separation of powers. This is a dangerous precedent and the Chief Justice must be released immediately," said Hisaan Hussain, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed's lawyer.

Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by the security forces after Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country on Monday.

The arrests indicated that the crackdown on the opposition intensified. The country's National Defence Force also stormed inside the Supreme Court (SC) premises in Male on Tuesday.

The Maldivian capital remained tense as opposition leaders across the Maldives were being rounded up and placed under detention as Yameen, who has been refusing to obey SC's orders directing him to release nine prominent leaders from prison, has given sweeping powers to security forces.

Last week, the Maldivian Supreme Court acquitted former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and ordered the reinstatement of the 12 other parliamentary members.

The Maldives has been in a state of turmoil since 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.

The arrest had led to widespread protests across the country and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of dissidents. The apex court had sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison.

Ten years ago, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy, after three decades of autocratic rule of former strongman and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. (ANI)