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High Court accepts top court justices’ appeal

Shaina Abdulla
24 May 2018, MVT 10:47
Right to left: Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed
Shaina Abdulla
24 May 2018, MVT 10:47

High court has accepted Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed’s verdict appeal of their one year jail term.

Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed were arrested under the state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen earlier last month, after the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling to free nine high-profile political prisoners.

The Criminal Court found Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed of the Supreme Court guilty of undue influence on the judiciary, and sentenced them to one year, seven months and six days in jail.

The state had levied charges of influencing official duties against Saeed and Hameed, accusing the duo of influencing judges of lower courts to manipulate verdicts since beginning of 2016 until February 1 this year, when the apex court had issued its landmark order to free political prisoners.

The Criminal Court on Thursday found Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed of the Supreme Court guilty of undue influence on the judiciary, and sentenced them to one year, seven months and six days in jail.

The state had levied charges of influencing official duties against Saeed and Hameed, accusing the duo of influencing judges of lower courts to manipulate verdicts since beginning of 2016 until February 1 this year, when the apex court had issued its landmark order to free political prisoners.

The two justices appealed their verdict during the given period of 10 days. However, should the High Court uphold the lower court's ruling and find them guilty within 30 days of the appeal, Saeed and Hameed will automatically lose their positions as judges, as per the recently passed amendment to the Judicature Act.

The recently ratified amendment to the Judicature Act states that if an appellate court finds a judge guilty of a criminal offence, the procedures declared in Article 154 of the Constitution will not applicable and the judge will be removed from office. The new amendments further state that the appeal of judges who are found guilty of a crime is to be submitted and concluded within a period of 30 days.

In addition to the duo's sentences, Chief Justice Saeed was also recently found guilty of ordering to shut down the Supreme Court's Government E-letter Management System (GEMS) in the wake of the February 1 ruling. He has thus been convicted of obstructing state functioning, and sentenced to four months and 24 days in jail.

Moreover, Saeed and Hameed have been charged with terrorism, bribery, and obstruction of justice. The Criminal Court has yet to announce the verdicts of these cases.

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