Reference No: 21 /10/2013
29 October 2013
The MDP Condemns Criminal Investigation into Raajje TV
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest efforts of the Supreme Court to subvert Maldivian democracy.
The Supreme Court issued an order to the Maldives Police Service to launch a criminal investigation into pro- democracy media channel Raajje TV, regarding a report on the current state of the Maldivian judiciary.
Head of News of Raajje TV, Ibrahim “Asward” Waheed and CEO of Raajje TV Abdulla Yamin are being investigated by the Police on Supreme Court orders.
According to their lawyers, the Police will send the case for prosecution within 10 days on charges of violating a regulation that dates back to pre-2008 Constitutional reforms. If convicted, it carries 6 months in prison.
This order is yet another flagrant overstepping of the Constitution, which stipulates that the Maldives Media Council and the Maldives Broadcasting Commission are the only state bodies mandated to investigate media content for alleged wrongdoing. Both the MBC and MMC have raised concerns over the Supreme Court orders and have requested the Supreme Court to review the order.
The recent actions of these four Supreme Court Justices have dismantled the check and balance system as stipulated by the Constitution. They have consistently dis-empowered independent institutions including the Civil Service Commission, the Election Commission and more recently the Maldives Broadcasting Commission and the Maldives Media Council These actions veiled in the name of preserving the dignity of the court and maintaining national security are in effect deliberate politically motivated attempts to derail democracy in the Maldives.
On 7th October, Raajje TV’s main studios were firebombed. In February 2013 their reporter Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed was brutally attacked and almost murdered by unknown accomplices. Many of their reporters are constantly harassed and have even been attacked by individuals loyal to the current regime. The Waheed regime has systematically discriminated against Raajje TV. This includes barring them from Government events, encouraged Police intimidation of their journalists at demonstrations, and ignoring formal requests for Police protection.
The MDP calls on the international community to use their good offices to help protect journalists and media freedoms in the Maldives. The MDP also calls on the international community to take specific action against Supreme Court Justices Ali Hameed, Abdulla Didi, Adam Mohamed, and Abdulla Saeed, who are repeatedly issuing unconstitutional politicized rulings that threaten the future of Maldivian democracy.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson for International Affairs