Chief Judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam stated on Thursday that various top officials of the government requested him to guarantee that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will receive a jail sentence over the money laundering charges against him.
A statement released by the judge accused the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of suspending him, accusing him of bribery and defaming him for not guaranteeing that Yameen will be sentenced to imprisonment.
The verdict on Yameen's trial was scheduled for 1300hrs on Tuesday. However, Judge Hailam was suspended that morning over a controversial image he forwarded to the court's Viber group chat on the occasion of Martyr's Day, which depicted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed, along with the orchestrators of the November 3, 1988 coup, in chains.
The statement released by the Criminal Court Judge reiterated his apology to the public, clarifying that forwarding the image to a social group without examining it thoroughly was a mistake, and provided details on the matters relating to Yameen's hearing.
According to Hailam, government officials of different ranks attempted to influence Yameen's verdict directly and indirectly since the hearings commenced, but he did not disclose any names.
"They attempted [to exert influence] the most on November 3 and 4", Hailam said.
"Various top officials in the government contacted me via messages, phone calls and through mutual contacts to guarantee I would sentence Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to jail".
Hailam claimed that individuals in positions of power threatened to investigate a transaction between him and former Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy lodged at Maldives Police Service, if he did not guarantee Yameen's imprisonment.
"They also threatened to suspend me".
JSC s currently investigating a transaction of MVR 200,000 between the judge and former MP.
In Hailam's statement, he clarified that Alhan never visits the Criminal Court in any capacity and he did not preside in any case of interest to the former MP, adding that the two were close friends long before Alhan was elected into Parliament.
Inspection of bank transactions carried out by any government official would reveal that they have received money from someone close to them, he said.
Hailam further stated that he met with a top official of Police at the time to explain the details of the case lodged against him and "Police decided not to investigate the issue since no criminal activity was involved".
As per Hailam, the judge currently overseeing Criminal Court's operations was well aware of the influence exerted on him.
Hailam declared that government officials do not need to know the verdict in a trial, no matter how high their position was.
"Judicial Service Commission's institution should run after a judge to guarantee a certain individual is jailed after considering how to preserve at least some of their respect, should they not?", he wrote, concluding the statement.