Maldives court suspends top lawyer over contempt

The Supreme Court Tuesday suspended top lawyer Husnu Suood accusing the former Attorney General of contempt.

Department of Judicial Administration said Suood along with Jumhoory Party (JP) lawmaker Ali Hussain has been temporarily disbarred pending an investigation for comments of alleged contempt.

Suood has been summoned by the High Court last week after he publicly criticized the court over its ruling upholding a lower court order handing over control of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

The suspensions came after the Supreme Court warned lawyers of strict action for comments dis-reputing the courts in the archipelago.

The High Court Sunday upheld a lower court order granting full control of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to president Yameen in the capacity of the chief advisor -- a default post offered to the party's successful presidential candidate under the party charter.

The three judge bench of the appellate court found no grounds to overturn the civil court order, ruling that handing over party control to president Yameen was in the "best interest of the party."

The bench had also dismissed arguments of procedural violations during the civil lawsuit flagged by the elder Gayoom's lawyers.

The civil lawsuit filed by two ruling party lawmakers had accused the elder Gayoom of violating party charter by refusing to hold council sit-downs and suspending its internal committees.

Gayoom lost the lawsuit after the Civil Court last week found him guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and the political party law.

The elder Gayoom has vowed to challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court.

A party member had appealed the court order prompting Gayoom to immediately intervene in the case, later questioning the motive and relevance of the appellant to the case.

Despite the civil court order, Gayoom had rallied council members loyal to him, filled the vacant secretary general's post and sealed his decision to oust three council members loyal to his half brother, including deputy party leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla.

President Yameen, a few hours later had chaired a council sit-down of his own and appointed a secretary general, effectively splitting the ruling party into two factions.

The half brothers have locked in a bitter power struggle ever since the elder Gayoom publicly urged lawmakers to vote down a government proposed amendment to the tourism Act.

Since then, Gayoom and his lawmaker son, Faaris Maumoon has continued to publicly criticize the government policies and recent legislation.

Despite the fallout, president Yameen has refused to hit-back at his elder half brother insisting that the former president still has his utmost respect and admiration.