Hithadhoo magistrate suspends High Court order, releases suspect

Rafeeuddin Ahmed, Magistrate at Hithadhoo Magistrate Court.

Addu’s Hithadhoo Magistrate Court, on Sunday, ordered the release of a suspect who was jailed pending the outcome of his trial by the High Court.

Magistrate Rafeeuddin Ahmed ordered the release of Rushan Ahmed Didi, Mandhoobuge, S. Hithadhoo, on health grounds.

High Court had ordered for Rushan to be jailed pending the outcome of his trial after annulling a previous order by the Hithadhoo Magistrate Court.

The decision by the Hithadhoo Magistrate Court to release Rushan poses questions over judicial hierarchy.

However, Rafeeuddin said in his court order that the court found it had the authority to end an order issued by the High Court.

The Hithadhoo Magistrate Court suspended the High Court order, and granted Rushan conditional release.

“We hereby order for the decision by the High Court of Maldives in order HC-A/216/2020 to jail Rushan Ahmed Didi pending the outcome of his trial to be suspended for 90 days starting today, and for him to be released for medical treatment during this period,” reads the order.

Despite the Hithadhoo Magistrate Court’s order, only Supreme Court has the authority to change an order issued by the High Court.

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has expressed concern over the order, and has stated he intends to submit the issue to Judicial Service Commission.

Shameem tweeted on Monday afternoon that a magistrate or a lower court does not have the authority to suspend an order issued by the High Court.

“If you want to release someone. You need to show a valid reason. Such decisions will be appealed with the High Court, and filed with JSC,” he said.