Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyom has stated that the Supreme Court order issued on Febraury 1, 2018 freeing opposition leaders was the beginning of the 'end of the judiciary'.
Speaking at a rally held by the opposition on Friday night, the former president said the Supreme Court is being destroyed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the Speaker of the parliament Mohamed Nasheed.
Friday night's rally is the first rally in which a substantial number of supporters took part in since President Yameen's defeat in the 2018 presidential election. President Yameen heavily criticized the former justices of the Supreme Court in his speech given at the event.
The former president said the Supreme Court was 'destroyed' by the heads of the current government, and that not a single person who had previously spoken in defense of the judiciary spoke up while the atrocity was being committed. Yameen pointed out that the powers of the state were not seperate under the current presidential system, and that it was evident in the way the government treated Supreme Court justices.
Yameen once again claimed that the 2018 presidential election was rigged, and accused that the election was "stolen" from him. The bitterness being experienced by the country today is its consequent result, he said.
President Yameen added that it is clear from the speech of then opposition leaders that the contentious court order issued by the Supreme Court on February 1 was the result of undue pressure and influence, adding that former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom and Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim had spoken on the order before it was issued.
Referring to the former Supreme Court justices, President Yameen said there were no bigger traitors than them as they had allowed the opportunity to 'sieze' the powers of the state on February 1, 2018.
Throwing light on the opposition's statement that President Yameen's administration had not obeyed the court order in question, Yameen said he was 'not one to follow just any order'.
"Abdulla Saeed [former Chief Justice] loudly asserted that all former presidents had listened to what he said, but that President Yameen refused to do so. Look, he is not the head of President Yameen. Why should President Yameen listen to what they say?", said Yameen referring to himself in third person.
Yameen said he did not become president to run the country according to the orders of certain people. Instead, he worked to resolve the problems faced by the citizens of the nation, said the former president.
The island nation was embroiled in political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including then self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
President Yameen on February 5 had declared 45 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, and purged the Supreme Court by arresting Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and senior Justice Ali Hameed. The remaining political leaders ultimately had the order revoked. The two arrested judges lost their positions in the court due to the charges raised against them.
After the current government came to power, the remaining three Supreme Court justices who were part of the Supreme Court bench at the time the order was issued were dismissed. Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi who was later appointed as the Chief Justice, Judge Adam Mohamed and Judge Abdulla Didi were all dismissed through parliament votes on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Judge Abdulla Areef resigned from his post amid fear that he may be dismissed.
Referring to the dismissal of the judges who issued the order, President Yameen said that the three judges who had issued the controversial order were cast aside and dismissed by the current administration once their need was fulfilled.
President Yameen further said dismissing judges who influence the judiciary is not a plan being pursued by main-ruling MDP today only. Had President Mohamed Nasheed not stepped down from presidency back on February 7, 2012, the courts would have been ruined the very next day, and great changes would have been brought to the JSC as per MDP's plan, said Yameen.