“No arrest order issued for troops that detained judges”, top court clarifies

Security forces driving on the roads of the capital Male city amidst the unrest created after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency on February 5, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / NISHAN ALI

Security forces driving on the roads of the capital Male city amidst the unrest created after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency on February 5, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / NISHAN ALI

The Supreme Court on Thursday explicitly clarified that it had not ordered the arrest of any law enforcement officers who were at the scene when Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed were arrested.

The court issued a statement in response to Saeed’s lawyers’ claim that the judge had ordered the arrest of armed troops that entered the premises of the Supreme Court early on Tuesday, before he was taken into custody.

Judge Saeed had ordered the officers to be remanded for 15-days, in contempt of court, his lawyers had revealed.

However, in the apex court’s statement on Thursday, it stated that an individual judge of the Supreme Court cannot issue a ruling by himself, and that orders and verdicts are only issued after the majority of judges concur on an issue.

The Supreme Court, in its statement, had “kindly informed” all relevant institutions that it did not issue any such orders on February 5, 2018.

The Chief Justice’s lawyers had claimed that the troops that entered the top court in the early hours of Tuesday morning had used excessive force while arresting him. The security forces had pushed him down and pinned him to the ground and was “violent” when taking him to custody, the lawyers alleged.

The judges were arrested just hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency, in effect for a period of 15-days. The judges became the targets of a government crackdown after it issued a landmark ruling that ordered the release of nine high-profile political prisoners, and reinstated the 12 unseated lawmakers.

Since then, the order to release political prisoners has been overturned by the remaining three judges at the Supreme Court.

Former president and incumbent president’s half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayyoon and his son-in-law were also arrested the same night. Meanwhile, his son and Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, who was released Tuesday morning, was taken back to prison on Thursday.

The judges are being charged with accepting bribes, asserting undue influence on the judiciary, and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

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