Opposition leader Adhurey denies charges of cursing in public

Acting leader of the opposition PNC/ PPM coalition, Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) | Photo: Fayaz Moosa

Male’, Maldives – Acting leader of the opposition PNC/ PPM coalition, Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) has denied using a curse word against the Criminal Court judges.

After the Former President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s sentencing to five years in jail with a fine of USD 5 million on November 28, 2019, Abdul Raheem Abdulla had used a curse word against the five judges of the bench which made the ruling and said that the five judges would be prosecuted when the opposition comes back to power.

The Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) filed the case with the Maldives Police Service against Abdul Raheem Abdulla on the same day stating that it was an action which was in contempt with the court. It was later filed at Criminal Court by Maldives Police Service on October 26, 2020.

The case was filed against Abdul Raheem Abdulla under the Article 615 of the Penal Code of the Maldives, under subsection 3.b and 3.c of section A of the article, which states that using slangs and cursing in a public place is a punishable offense.

Speaking at the hearing, defense lawyer and Abdul Raheem Abdulla‘s son in law, Ahmed Hisham said that according to the commentary written on the Constitution of the Maldives, by professor Paul H. Robinson who was a consultant in drafting the Maldivian constitution, using slangs and cursing was related to general public interest and that the complaint can only be filed by someone from the general public. He also pointed out that this issue was lodged by DJI and that it had no legal basis to file such a complaint.

Refuting to the defense lawyers argument, prosecuting lawyer stated that if the laws are interpreted as to how the defense lawyer argued then the purpose of law enforcement authorities was void. Prosecutor also highlighted that when interpreting laws, the arguments and debates which were made during the parliament sittings for formulating the constitution and the intended way of interpreting the articles of the laws needed to be taken in to consideration.

In reply to the argument of the prosecutor, defense lawyer stated that research done on legal issues can be used in interpreting the law and that the constitution allows it. He also added that if such research cannot be used in trials that there was no need to for those researches.

After prosecution asked all question from Abdul Raheem Abdulla, he denied all charges and requested time to submit all evidence in writing before the trial started. Accepting his request, Judge Hassan Saeed told to submit all documents before 13:00 of March 9, 2021.

According to the constitution, the maximum punishment for cursing or indecent behavior is three months in jail and on the basic standards it’s one month and six days imprisonment while the minimum sentence is nine days of imprisonment.

After the case was filed, Abdul Raheem Abdulla told local media “Mihaaru” that the government was running out of options and this was an attempt by the government to silence the opposition. He also stated that this was a means of tormenting the opposition while ignoring to prosecute major cases such as the ventilator corruption case.

While Abdul Raheem Abdulla has been prosecuted for using a curse word in public against the Criminal Court judges, another such incident also took place in last August while Abdul Raheem Abdulla was speaking to media. He was speaking to the media after he was summoned to the police station for the oppositions protest which was held in Male’ City against the HPA guidelines.