After the Supreme Court of the Maldives suspended 54 lawyers for submitting a petition raising concerns about the judiciary and urging to uphold the rule of law earlier this month, 35 other lawyers have gotten together to appeal for the suspended lawyers’ rights.
Some of the most high-profile legal representatives in the country including former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, former High Court judge Azmiralda Zahir, former Attorney General Dhiyana Saeed, a nominee for the Prosecutor General’s post Maumoon Hameed, lawyers Shaaheen Hameed and Hussain Siraj, and several other legal representatives had signed the petition sent to Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed, asking him to reinstate the suspended lawyers till the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) concludes its investigation into them.
The petition highlighted how due procedure suggests taking action against someone who has been accused of a wrongdoing only after their involvement has been indefinitely proven.
Therefore, the new petition stated that it would be in the best interest of their clients – the suspended lawyers – to let them practice till DJA officially finds them guilty of misconduct.
“We urge the DJA to expedite its investigation into the lawyers, and to carry out the investigation in a free and fair manner,” the petition called.
DJA had declared that the lawyers gathered at the Supreme Court unlawfully when they submitted the petition, and that they had obstructed the independence of the whole justice system. Further, it alleged that the lawyers were in violation of the Judicature Act, the lawyers’ pledge, regulations to prevent contempt of court, and the regulations of the Supreme Court, which resulted in their indefinite suspension.
Some of the lawyers that were suspended include: Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s chairperson Hassan Latheef, MDP’s Secretary General Anas Abdul Sattar, Adhaalath Party’s deputy leader Ali Zahir, Machangolhi North MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, Nazim Abdul Sattar, Ibrahim Riffath, Mahfooz Saeed and Abdulla Haseen.