Judges are being influenced by Nasheed: ex-VP

Former Vice President of Maldives Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has stated that the judges of Maldivian courts are being controlled by Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

Jameel who had filled position of the justice minister previously, made the statement in response to a statement made by the Chief Communications Strategist of the President's Office and spokesperson, Ibrahim Hood last Thursday. Hood declared at a press conference, that the courts of Maldives are finally independent and free of political influence.

Hood had said even though, the country had been embroiled in political turmoil for the past seven years, finally the country has settled down, which has directed the focus of the government on the criminal justice system.

"Hopefully, even the courts are now independent, and they can carry out their mandate," said Hood.

Responding to Hood's statement, the former VP said he does not know how the government was able to 'certify' that the courts were now independent. While parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed and his lawyers sit on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), even the Judiciary Committee is comprised of main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s lawyers, said Jameel. He further accused that the judges of the courts are being influenced and controlled by Nasheed.

"I do not know how the President's Office's spokesperson was able to certify the independence of the courts. [Former] President Nasheed and a team of lawyers from MDP sit on the JSC. MDP lawyers sit on the Judiciary Committee. Judges are being influenced by MDP's President and lawyers. What wasn't independent before?," questioned Jameel.

The courts of Maldives have always been said to be politically influenced, with several injustices being committed through bribery and corruption. Therefore, judicial reform was a key pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during his presidential campaign.

When Hood was asked by AVAS if the pledge has been fulfilled, the spokesperson said the pledge has not been fully achieved, but that promising developments have been achieved.