Ref: PR -2017-04-008
Jumhooree Party calls on the Prosecutor General to immediately drop the baseless charges against Party’s Leader and Deputy Leader
Jumhooree Party strongly condemns the unlawful arrest of the Leader of Jumhooree Party and MP for Maamigilee Constituency, Hon. Qasim Ibrahim and the baseless charges against the Deputy Leader of Jumhooree Party and MP for Kinbidhoo Constituency.
The Maldives High Court ruled on 12 April 2017 that the arrest and subsequent detention of Hon. Qasim Ibrahim by the Maldives Police Service was unlawful and ordered his immediate release. The High Court ruled that his arrest violated Clause 1 of Article 13 of the Law on the Powers and Immunities of Parliament Members. However, without considering the legality of the arrest or the events that followed, the Criminal Court had also remanded him for six days following his arrest.
Less than three hours after the Police released him from jail as ruled by the High Court, Hon. Qasim Ibrahim was served by the Criminal Court for a hearing the next day on three separate charges filed against him by the Prosecutor General. These charges are based on the initial charges made by the Police namely, “attempting to offer bribes”, “influencing the official conduct of a public official” and “intimidating, improperly influencing a voter”, over a public speech he gave in which he invited Members of Parliament to join the opposition movement and vote to remove the Speaker of Parliament.
However, there is no legal basis for submitting any of these charges to court since the High Court had already ruled that Hon. Qasim Ibrahim’s arrest on 6 April 2017 and all subsequent processes including his incarceration and interrogation were unlawful.
On 12 April the Deputy Leader of Jumhooree Party Hon. Abdulla Riyaz was also served by the Criminal Court for a hearing on a case filed against him by the Prosecutor General charging him for “obstructing the Police in carrying out their official duties”.
During Hon. Qasim Ibrahim and Hon. Abdulla Riyaz’s hearings the Prosecutor General requested the Judge to remand them in prison for the entire duration of the trial. However, the Judges in both hearings ruled that there was no evidence to warrant such an action. The rapid-fire trials and the request for placing the defendants under arrest without any justifiable reason shows the bias of the Prosecutor General in prosecuting opposition political leaders.
The charges against Hon. Qasim Ibrahim and Hon. Abdulla Riyaz are clearly politically motivated. Jumhooree Party strongly condemns the injustice suffered by Hon. Qasim Ibrahim who was held in jail unlawfully for six days purely as a result of his political opposition to President Yameen’s regime. The party further calls on the Government to give space for independent institutions to carry out their duties professionally and independently. Jumhooree party also calls on the Prosecutor General to immediately drop the baseless charges against Hon. Qasim Ibrahim and Hon. Abdulla Riyaz.
13 April 2017