President Yameen bemoans string of betrayals from trusted peers

yameen-abdullah saeed

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed (L) calls on President Abdulla Yameen at the President’s Office. PHOTO/PRESIDENT’S OFFICE

In the wake of the arrests of two Supreme Court judges, President Abdulla Yameen bemoaned that he suffers the greatest betrayals from the people closest to him.

Speaking at a ruling party rally late Tuesday, Yameen declared that Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed of the top court, who are under arrest over graft accusations, had been intimate associates that greatly respected him. He lamented that their rapport has now been “soiled”.

“To this day, the people who have betrayed me were always those that worked closest with me, whom I helped the most,” said Yameen in a heated address.

Though he did not name anyone aside from the judges, the president’s reference included his former deputy, Ahmed Adheeb, who was notoriously known as Yameen’s closest confidante during the first years of his regime. Adheeb was later convicted of orchestrating the blast aboard the presidential speedboat in September 2015 in an attempt to assassinate Yameen. He was also found guilty of being involved in the largest corruption scandal in Maldivian history, and thus is currently serving 33 years.

Meanwhile, Yameen’s half-brother and former strongman, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had campaigned hardest to elect Yameen in the 2013 elections, has also fallen out with the president and joined forces with the opposition coalition.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last Thursday night to release nine political leaders including Adheeb and former President Mohamed Nasheed, Yameen alleged that Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed had led and pushed the verdict for their own personal motives. The president stressed that, otherwise, there was no sensible reason for the apex court of the country to abruptly overturn the convictions of nine particular high profile convicts, a number of whom were found guilty of major offences such as terrorism and embezzlement after the legal process was exhausted.

Accusing Saeed and Hameed of attempting to overthrow his government via the Supreme Court, Yameen highlighted that he was the one who had appointed them as justices. The president recalled that certain parliamentarians had initially believed that he would not approve of appointing Hameed, while his predecessor Nasheed had not included Abdulla Saeed in the nominations for the top court during his government.

“I was the one who added Abdulla Saeed’s name to the list,” said Yameen, adding that he had also explicitly approved to appoint Hameed to the top court after he came to power.

The president addressed his supporters during the rally held after the remaining three judges of the Supreme Court revoked the order to release the nine political prisoners earlier that same night. The court issued the latest ruling after Yameen lifted the restriction curbing the top court’s authority during the ongoing state of emergency in the Maldives.

Yameen had announced the 15-day state of emergency late on Monday night, which was followed by a crackdown that saw the arrests of Saeed, Hameed and Judicial Administrator Hassan Saeed for alleged graft. Yameen had also arrested Maumoon and Maumoon’s son-in-law under accusations of bribery and conspiring to overthrow the government.

The president had later admitted that he declared the state of emergency as “there was no other way to hold [Saeed and Hameed] answerable” to the corruption allegations against them, since the Supreme Court had earlier barred the judicial watchdog from investigating its judges. However, the top court in its U-turn ruling Tuesday night reinstated the watchdog’s authority over the court again.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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