Legal Politics

Top lawyers resign amid ‘discontent’ in chief prosecutor’s office

February 26 20:17 2017

Two public prosecutors who have represented the state in high-profile cases have quit amidst reports of discontent within the Prosecutor General’s office.

Ahmed Hisham Wajeeh and Noorussalam Abubakur resigned in December and February, respectively. The opposition-aligned Raajje TV reported last week that both resigned due to conflicts with Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham, but Hisham said the station “was not accurate about my reason for quitting”.

“I have worked in criminal prosecution for about three years. Due to some personal beliefs, I have decided to step away for now,” said Hisham, who was part of the prosecuting teams on former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s terrorism trials.

Noorussalam declined to comment on the reasons for his resignation after four years of service.

But a credible source from the PG office told the Maldives Independent on the condition of anonymity that Noorussalam quit on February 7 due to displeasure with Bisham.

Prosecutors face routine difficulties in the office environment, the source said, alleging that Bisham’s prosecution decisions are politically motivated.

“Bisham’s legal decisions are increasingly becoming irrational,” the source said.

“We may even have to go to court and try someone for terrorism, without there being sufficient evidence, only based on Bisham’s decision.”

The prosecutor general was not responding to phone calls and a text message at the time of publication.

Since her appointment to the post in November 2015, Bisham has overseen the prosecution of her predecessor, Muhthaz Muhsin, and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla on terrorism charges.

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Bisham was President Yameen’s legal affairs secretary prior to her appointment to the post. She also briefly served as attorney general in former President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration, but failed to secure parliamentary approval and was later appointed special advisor to the president.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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