UN Rights Experts Denounce Detention Of Maldives Judges As A “Direct Attack”

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 (APP):Denouncing the detention of two Supreme Court judges in the Maldives, human rights
experts have warned that the independence of the is under “serious threat” in the country, as is the principle of separation of powers between the and the courts.
“It is clear that the rule of law in the Maldives is now under siege,” the experts said in a joint statement issued Monday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“We call on the Government to refrain from any threats or interference that may hamper the court’s independence as the supreme guardian of the country’s constitution and legislation,” they added.
In the release, Jose Antonio Guevara Bermudez, the current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and magistrates, also stressed that judicial independence, enshrined in the national constitution and in international treaties, had to be guaranteed by the State.
Garcia-Sayan also raised concern over the timing of the arrests, five days after the Supreme Court had ordered the release and retrial of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Following the arrest of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed Mohamed “ shortly after the Government declared a state of emergency“ the three remaining Supreme Court judges overturned the order to free the nine leaders.
In the same vein, Bermudez underscored that Judges should be able to decide all matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts, and in accordance with the law free of any intimidation.”This is at best suspicious,” Garcia-Sayan said, adding that the acts constitutes, an intolerable act of intimidation” against the highest judicial authority in the country.
“However, this is not possible when their very liberty and security is threatened,” he stressed.
According to the news release, the UN experts have been in contact with the Government of Maldives regarding their concerns.

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