Judicial Services Commission begins probe into leaked audio tapes

MP Hisaan Hussain | Photo: Maldives Parliament

Malé, Maldives – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Maldives, earlier today, commenced an investigation into the leaked audio recording of a judge allegedly implicating outside pressure into passing a sentence.

An audio recording was leaked where allegedly one of the judges of the Criminal Court’s five-member bench stated that former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom was sentenced by holding the judges “hostage”.

According to local media outlet “Sun”, in the audio, Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad allegedly made the comment in a conversation with a friend, where he stated that there are many ways a person can be held hostage, that even if he himself was not held hostage, it can be done by holding his wife or a loved one hostage. 

In addition to this, Judge Faiz also described trials involving politicians as an “unusual business”, and saying that being imprisoned unjustly can only boost Yameen’s popularity. He also said that Yameen was convicted of the crime not based on just one reason, but based on multiple reasons, but that he is unable to divulge details. The judge is further heard saying that Yameen’s conviction will serve in his favour in the long run and that it will be clear in 2023 – when Maldives will hold the presidential elections.

Judge Faiz also mentioned that out of five judges, issuing a dissenting opinion would have no effect on the outcome. 

Regarding this case, the Judicial Service Commission said that a case like this questions the independence and integrity of judges and the judiciary, as such this case will be investigated to the fullest extent.

To this end, the JSC held an emergency meeting this morning and has commenced a probe into the case. The commission has scheduled interviews with the implicated individuals today.

Meanwhile the Opposition Coalition has called to free former President Yameen and accused President’s Chief of Staff Ali Zahir of masterminding the manipulation of the former President’s trial.

The President’s Office has denied these allegations and requested the JSC and Police to investigate this matter.