Hulhumale Magistrate Court today has stressed that it cannot review the decision by the court against holding the trial on the case filed by the State against former President Mohamed Nasheed and that decision must be taken by a higher court.
The Court statement came in response to the letter by Prosecutor General's (PG) office requesting the Court to review the decision of its refusal to hold the trial on the case filed by the State against Nasheed, former Minister of Defense Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, Brigadier Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad for arresting Judge Abdulla Mohamed, the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court.
In response to the PG’s letter the Court stressed that the decision was taken by a Judge of the Court that it had no jurisdiction to hold the trial. It added that the decision whether the Court can hold the trial or not can only be decided by a higher court.
The Hulhumale Magistrate Court had rejected the case on the claims that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case under Article 66 and 69 of the Courts Act.
However, a statement issued by the PG office stated that it is believed following the reviewing of the Court Regulations and the Constitution that the Hulhumale Magistrate Court can hold the trial because Male, Villimale and Hulhumale are one judicial constituent thus under one jurisdiction.
According to the PG office the Court Regulations does not state that a Magistrate Court cannot investigate the charges of the “deliberate arrest of an innocent individual” thus the magistrate court in Hulhumale can in fact hold the trial.
The office further stated that given the permanent addresses of those being charged are within the jurisdiction of Hulhumale, the magistrate court has the regional jurisdiction to move forward with the case.
All five are being charged under Article 81 of the Maldives penal code, which is detainment of a person not found guilty by a court of law using the authority afforded to a State employee. The penalty if found guilty is a prison sentence of no more than three years or banishment or a fine of no more than MVR2,000.
Despite pressures from both international and local parties and a direct order by the Supreme Court for his immediate release, Judge Abdulla had been detained in a military training facility at Kaafu Atoll Girifushi for 22 days, until finally being released on February 7 following the downfall of Nasheed’s government.