Maldives top court rejects pres' request to revoke order

The Supreme Court has rejected the letters sent by president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom asking the apex court to revoke its decision ordering the release several jailed political leaders, deputy ruling party leader revealed Monday.

The island nation has been plunged into fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

More than three days after the Supreme court ordered the immediate release of as many as nine political prisoners, government has thus far refused to comply.

The Prosecutor General (PG) had submitted its concerns to the Supreme Court on Saturday separately on each case citing "legal and judicial" precedents.

The Supreme Court however had rejected the concerns saying that there were no legal or judicial reasons that would prevent the relevant authorities from implementing the order.

"As referred to in the order, there is nothing preventing the prosecutor general from seeking a re-trial after the order has been implemented," the statement had read.

President Yameen in three separate letters to chief justice Abdulla Saeed said the Supreme Court had failed to provide a solution to the concerns raised by the chief prosecutor which he said sets several dangerous legal precedents.

In the first letter which was read out by the legal affairs minister Azima Shakoor on state television, president Yameen argued that the court order if implemented threatens the entire justice system, the constitution and sets dangerous legal precedents for other convicted offenders.

"So in light of the said concerns, I believe that the order to release the jailed prisoners cannot be enforced in accordance with the constitution, the judicial process," president said asking the chief justice to re-consider the PG's concerns.

In the second letter, president Yameen pointed out that the order which prevented the appointment of Judges or Chief Judge to any court without a written approval of the Supreme Court, clearly violates the constitutional mandate of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

"So I ask you to revoke that order which clearly violates and hinders the constitutional mandate of the JSC," the second letter read.

President Yameen has also asked the Supreme Court to rescind its order which revoked a warrant to arrest the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) chief Hassan Saeed over bribery allegations.

The president said the order obstructs law enforcement authorities from carrying out an investigation into a serious allegation and asked the chief justice to rescind the order.

Hours after the letters were read out by Azima, ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla told reporters that the court had refused to even accept the letters saying that it was a 'holiday'.

The Fonadhoo lawmaker said the refusal to even accept the letters proves that the rulings of the top court have been compromised and outside the contours of the laws. Raheem further said Supreme Court has 'paralyzed' the lower courts and urged the president to "execute his constitutional powers" to the full.

"This is the time the entire nation needs to come together to stand behind their elected president. Don't believe what the opposition are saying. Nothing will happen the way they [opposition] want," he insisted.

In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.

The others named in the order included former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's brother in law Hamid Ismail.

The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.

The reinstatement of the 12 lawmakers disqualified by the country's elections commission would mean that the united opposition would now have parliament majority which has the power to impeach the president.

Government meanwhile, confirmed a Supreme Court led move to have president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom arrested.

Amid increasing rumours that the apex court was preparing to act over the refusal to comply, president Yameen in a letter to chief justice Abdulla Saeed insisted that the constitution clearly stipulates the mandate, immunities and authorities of every state institution.

In the letter which was read out by the legal affairs minister Azima Shakoor on state television, president Yameen warned the Supreme court against 'abusing' the constitutional privileges, immunities and authorities granted to its judges in any way that contradicts or invades the jurisdiction and mandate of other state institutions or powers of the state.