034_Global12_Spotlight_MaldivesRS_V6

Global issue 12

SpotlightMaldives Credit: Munshid Mohamed March 2012: a protest in favour of elections following the sudden change of government  mands considerable political weight and Maldives could import pork and alcohol diciary, and dug in his heels to wait out the now controls the Islamic Affairs ministry without violating the nation’s shariah-based opposition-led protests. and the Friday sermons. constitution. It refused to do so. The move, which prompted international By late 2011, the Maldivian economy If the subversion of religion for the pur- concern and condemnation, was the culmi- was showing upward movement. Tourist pose of political opportunism was fuel for nation of a judicial crisis that had had its arrivals were booming and the government the events of February, Nasheed’s arrest of beginnings in August 2010. The new con- had introduced universal health insurance Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mo- stitution required parliament to establish to much public acclaim. But Nasheed’s per- hamed on 16 January 2012 was the spark the professional and ethical criteria for the ceived liberalism served to unite the MDP’s the opposition was looking for. bench prior to its reappointment. Dismiss- jilted coalition partners – who had fallen Nasheed’s government had accused ing this requirement, however, the JSC out over three years of assorted disagree- Judge Abdulla of holding up cases involv- reappointed the former autocracy’s rubber- ments – against him, in much the same way ing opposition figures, barring media from stamping judiciary in its entirety. they had against Gayoom. corruption trials, releasing suspects in seri- Aishath Velezinee, Nasheed’s appointed On 23 December 2011, the combined ous criminal cases without a hearing, and in representative to the JSC, has observed opposition held a mass rally demanding, one instance, arbitrarily releasing a murder that 60 percent of judges and magistrates among other things, the closure of massage suspect who went on to kill another victim. had less than grade 7 education, while 30 parlours and a state apology from Nasheed Further allegations included active under- percent had actual criminal records. He has for allowing UN High Commissioner for mining of cases involving drug-trafficking also said that the assumption that Abdulla Human Rights Navi Pillay to condemn the suspects, disregarding decisions of higher Mohamed was constitutionally appointed Maldives’s practice of flogging women for courts and ordering an underage sexual was a “false premise, a political creation having extramarital sex. The unlikely al- assault victim to re-enact her attack in the which ignores all evidence refuting it”. liance led to some surreal scenes, includ- courtroom in front of the perpetrator. In a bid to cement his legitimacy, Waheed ing the country’s single largest importer of The Civil Court had in September grant- appointed a three-member panel – includ- pork and alcohol standing on the sea wall ed Judge Abdulla an injunction from fur- ing Gayoom’s former defence minister – to and declaring to an audience of thousands ther investigation by the judicial watchdog, investigate the circumstances of his suc- that there was “no such thing as moderate the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). cession. After Commonwealth interven- Islam”. He initially overruled his own arrest by po- tion and its appointment of Special Envoy Nasheed called their bluff, temporarily lice, who called in the military to take him Sir Donald McKinnon, the Commission of issuing an order to close all massage par- into custody. Disregarding Supreme Court National Inquiry (CNI) was expanded to lours across the country and demanding the orders to release the judge, Nasheed called include a representative for Nasheed and, Supreme Court decisively state whether the for international assistance to reform the ju- at the request of the government, a retired 34 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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