Malé, Maldives – At a press conference held on Saturday, former judges and lawyers of Maldives have accused the government of influencing the judiciary.
The press conference was held to address the issue of leaked audio regarding the trial of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom and the influence of government on the judiciary of the Maldives.
The leaked audio allegedly contains three of the five judges bench that presided over former President Yameen’s case admitting that they were pressured into making the judgement.
Former High Court Chief Judge Shujau Usman said that there is no question that the voices in the leaked audio file are those of the alleged judges and added that investigations by the police will prove his statements to be true. He said this while all three accused judges have stated that the voices in the audio file do not belong to them.
The former Chief Judge also said that at present, the state is influencing the judiciary to an extent that it was not done before multi-party democracy in the Maldives.
Former Criminal Court Judge Hassan Najeeb also added that he had closely experienced pressure and influence from the government and accused President’s Office Chief of Staff Ali Zahir of trying to influence former Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam.
However, Hailam has since refuted this statement saying that he never made any deals with anyone. Had he made deals, he would still have his position as the Criminal Court Chief Judge. Hailam also accused Najeeb of being influenced.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Maldives, on August 30, commenced an investigation into the leaked audio recording of a judge allegedly implicating outside pressure into passing a sentence.
While 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.