Judiciary Committee asked to investigate Shakeel’s appoint to High Court

Criminal Court's Chief Judge Ahmed Shakeel.

The opposition coalition, composed of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC), has lodged a case with the Parliament’s Judiciary Committee, seeking an inquiry into the decision by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to appoint Criminal Court chief judge Ahmed Shakeel – who issued the 11-year prison sentence against former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – to the High Court.

The case was submitted on behalf of the opposition by PNC deputy leader, Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef Umar.

Adam Shareef noted that both judges who issued convictions against Yameen were promoted to higher courts.

He alleged that the government-controlled JSC had been behind both decisions and that it served as proof of the current administration’s incitement to abuse Yameen.

Adam Shareef believes the decision to appoint Shakeel to the High Court is an impediment to justice for Yameen.

He alleged that the decision was a clear move by the administration to influence Yameen’s appeal.

Adam Shareef said that there was therefore a good chance the decision involved corruption, and asked the Judiciary Committee to conduct an inquiry.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined USD 5 million on December 25, 2022, after he was found guilty of money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.

Yameen, who is the opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s presidential candidate, needs to win the appeal in order to be eligible for the presidential election in September.

The sentence against him had come a year after he was acquitted after getting convicted of similar charges in 2019. The judge who presided over the Criminal Court bench which issued the sentence, Ali Rasheed Hussain, was later appointed to the Supreme Court.