State presents evidence after Jaleel denies charges

The State has presented evidence in court against former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel after he denied the charges regarding the illegal arrest of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdullah Mohamed.

The State presented 21 pieces of evidence at the trial at Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court today, including witnesses former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh, former Deputy Commissioner of Police Ismail Atheef, Chief of Defence Force Ahmed Shiyam, Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam and Colonel Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef.

Presenting the evidence, Assistant Public Prosecutor Hussain Nashid said that seven out of the 21 pieces of evidence were presented to prove that Moosa Ali Jaleel played a lead role in the discussions held to arrest Judge Abdullah, and to prove that he also participated in the operation to arrest Judge Abdullah.

Presenting the claims against Moosa Ali Jaleel, Nashid said that Moosa Ali Jaleel is charged under article 81 of the Penal Code for arresting an innocent person; because as Chief of Defence Force of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), he participated in the discussions held regarding the arrest of Judge Abdullah, participated in the operation to arrest Judge Abdullah, arrested Judge Abdullah on the night of 16 February 2012 and held him in Kaafu Girifushi until 8 February 2012.

Moosa Ali Jaleel denied the claims and said that he was not ordered by anyone to arrest Judge Abdullah and that no MNDF personnel below him had been ordered to arrest Judge Abdullah either.

Moosa Ali Jaleel’s lawyer Ali Hussain raised four procedural issues in court today.

The court dismissed the first procedural issue that stated that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court did not have jurisdiction to carry out this trial, and said that the High Court had ruled that this case is in fact within the jurisdiction of Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The court did not make a decision on the procedural issue that claimed that the bench of judges presiding over the trial against Moosa Ali Jaleel was not appointed within the boundaries of the authority of Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The judges said that they would not be able to decide on a matter related directly to them.

Ali Hussain also raised a procedural issue saying that while the charges against Moosa Ali Jaleel are based on statements provided during investigations by the Human Rights Commission and the police, the investigations by the Human Rights Commission were conducted illegally. Ali Hussain said that the Human Rights Commission does not have the authority to carry out criminal investigations.

His final procedural issue raised today was to claim that the investigation was conducted not by the Human Rights Commission, but by the employees of the commission. He said that an investigation conducted by the employees cannot be seen as an investigation by the commission.

Responding to the last two points, Assistant Public Prosecutor Abdullah Rabiu said that articles 223 (f) of the Constitution gives the Prosecutor General the power to order any investigation that he deems desirable into complaints of criminal activity. Rabiu said that the Prosecutor General had ordered the Human Rights Commission to investigate the arrest of Judge Abdullah on 19 January 2012.

He further said that the Human Rights Commission is an independent institution, which means the claim by Moosa Ali Jaleel’s lawyer that the commission is made up of only five members, is incorrect.

Rabiu said that the investigation was carried out by a group of employees assigned to this task by the commission, and that this is clearly indicated in the investigation report. He requested the court to take this fact into account and make a decision on these procedural issues.

Judge Sujau Usman said that a decision on the two procedural issues will be made at the next session.

The judges gave Moosa Ali Jaleel 23 days to prepare his detailed defence before the trial was adjourned today.