Maldives suspends 54 lawyers over ‘unlawful’ petition

Lawyers gathered in front of the Supreme Court to submit a petition raising concerns over the Maldivian judiciary.

Lawyers gathered in front of the Supreme Court to submit a petition raising concerns over the Maldivian judiciary.

Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) suspended 54 lawyers indefinitely late on Sunday night over a petition they submitted to the Supreme Court, marking the biggest mass suspension of legal representatives in the Maldives.

The lawyers had signed a petition voicing concerns over the judicial system of the nation, requesting the top court to address and bring solutions to all the obstructions and problems highlighted.

Following the petition’s submission, DJA issued a statement late Sunday announcing its decision to suspend 54 lawyers, declaring that they had gathered unlawfully at the Supreme Court in a manner that obstructs the independence of the justice system and judges.

DJA stated that the lawyers were in violation of the Judicature Act, lawyers’ pledge, regulations to prevent contempt of court, and the regulations of the Supreme Court, thus resulting in their indefinite suspension. Describing the petition as an unlawful document, and signing it as an act that interferes and puts pressure on the justice system while overstepping the procedures and rulings of courts, DJA further pronounced that it is investigating the issue and legal experts involved.

Prominent lawyers that have been suspended include the former Attorney General Husnu al-Suood, 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, Hisaan Hussain, Nazim Abdul Sattar, Ibrahim Riffath, Mahfooz Saeed and Abdulla Haseen.

Several of the lawyers involved had advocated and still advocate in the cases of high profile politicians. Throughout the suspension, the lawyers will not be allowed to plead their clients’ cases in court.

In addition to the 54 lawyers, former Deputy Prosecutor General Ali Shameem and Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain had also signed the petition. The two legal representatives were already suspended at the time of signing the petition.

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