Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is an ardent lover of the 'judicial process'. As he jailed one political rival after another on more than contentious charges, he has quite frivolously exploited the process to the full.
Whenever, anyone including the international community decried the conviction of a political leader, president Yameen has hidden behind it. Police backed by multiple arrest and search warrants harassed and investigated Yameen's political opponents. His prosecutors filed charges overnight. From terrorism, bribery to corruption, the country's justice system was efficient, swift and effective.
President Yameen has repeatedly asked his jailed rivals to follow the judicial process if they wish to be free insisting that he would not be pressured into influencing the judiciary. He has openly challenged the international community and derided it for meddling in the country's internal affairs accusing it of threatening the nation's sovereignty. Every statement to the country's international partners or the media were laden with terms such as the judicial process, justice system and judiciary.
"It's not the place of the police to question court orders. Their duty is to obey them. Without question. Without delay," Yameen had said recently.
President Yameen has on multiple occasions, reaffirmed his government's commitment to upholding the rule of law. He has reiterated his obligation towards maintaining the independence of the judiciary and the police service remain resolute.
"I would never interfere with the works of the judiciary. The law is being enforced without any chance for discrimination," Yameen had insisted as late as last December.
But his seemingly unwavering stand on the judicial process crumbled on Thursday when the tables turned quite dramatically. And president Yameen's hypocrisy has been stripped bare for the world to see.
In a stunning development, the country's Supreme Court has ordered the relevant authorities to immediately release all jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Nasheed.
The Supreme Court had said the questionable and politically motivated nature of the trials of the political leaders warrants a re-trial and ordered the authorities to immediately free the jailed leaders until a court of law sentences otherwise.
The court has ordered relevant authorities to strictly enforce the order and warned legal action against anyone who refuses to obey the court order.
The Supreme Court order was very clear - at least to everyone except president Yameen and his aides. More than a day after the Supreme court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.
Suddenly, the government has 'legal and judicial' concerns over the court order. The once 'efficient' state institutions are stuttering. No longer does the Supreme Court has the final say over judicial matters.
"We don't have political prisoners in this country. Anyone convicted and serving time in prison are doing so because they have been found guilty of a crime. I cannot and will not interfere in the judiciary to release any prisoner. If they feel aggrieved they are more than welcome and have the option of challenging it in a court of law," president Yameen once said.
President Yameen's judicial process has now spoken. The convictions of nine people have been overturned. They have been freed by a court of law. Now its time for the president to 'put his money where his mouth is.'