Condemnation of blatant infringements of parliamentary privileges by the judiciary

The process is ongoing to appeal the Criminal Court’s sentence in absentia to jail me for six months that cited my non- attendance to hearings of a case against me. I had written to Criminal Court requesting a copy or an actual transcript of the sentence. I was given a verbal response from the Criminal Court that no action would be taken on my letter, adding not even a copy of the sentence would be made available as yet to me. A sentence meted out by a judicial court, especially a verdict made in absentia, should be made available to the defendant. No one familiar with legal matters would deny provision of such documentation. This refusal by the Criminal Court also directly contravenes item four, Article 61 and Article 42 of the Constitution.

The High Court had since stated that that admittance of my appeal requires documentation already denied to me by the Criminal Court, including actual transcripts of indictment and the Criminal Court’s sentence.I am not able to discern a method to acquire an actual transcript of the ruling when the Criminal Court, the only source privy to the verdict refuses to provide an attested transcript of the sentence. It is deplorable that these circumstances are obstructing my right, under Article 56 of the Constitution, to appeal.

Also, the Registrar at the High Court happened to be on leave today and she was not responding to telephone calls. Tomorrow being an official holiday after a long weekend and as the Registrar would be on leave for at least five days, I pray to the Almighty to bless her with wellness.

Access to documentationat Court that concerns me is my right under item four, Article 61 of the Constitution. The Criminal Court had unduly negated this right. The opportunity to appeal Court verdicts at higher Courts is my basic right under Article 56 of the Constitution. By enacting difficult and problematic administrative procedures, the Courts are eliminating my right to appeal.

One of the main causes stated for the Criminal Court’s sentence in absentia, to jail me for six months citing my non- attendance to hearings, allude to someone at my residence refusing to be the recipient of a Court summons as I was not at home at the time. Should refusal to be recipient of a Court summons be a criminal offense, that offense had not been committed by me, but by someone who happened to be at my residence. I am not aware as to who it may have been. Sentencing me to six months in jail as punishment for a criminal offense committed by that person would not constitute a valid legal procedure anywhere in the world.

In addition, the exertion of the Criminal Court to present me for hearings in complete disregard to and in contravention of the Powers and Privileges Act of Peoples Majlis (Parliament) are infringements of parliamentary privileges by the judiciary. Hence, this is not a censure against me by the Criminal Court. This is a denunciation of parliament by the judiciary. I happen to be an unfortunate victim held in between.

Re allegations of refusal to provide a urine sample, I reiterate my statement that I was never instructed to do so in the legally stipulated manner. Consequently, this irrelevant and unsubstantiated litigation is political predation instigated by the government against an opposition MP.

Such circumstances emphasize the compulsion of my party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to further improve standards of senior people in judicial administration and adjudication. They also accentuate the urgency of fast-tracking these efforts.

04 November 2013
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor MP
Henveiru South, Male’
Maldivian Democratic Party