The Maldives’ top two judges were Thursday found guilty of influencing official conduct and sentenced to one year, seven months and six days in prison.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were accused of influencing judges. Their trial was closed to the media and public and held in secret. Both had denied the charge.
The verdict had to be rescheduled after Hameed was rushed to hospital on Wednesday with breathing difficulties.
Presiding Judge Hussain Shaheed had earlier ruled there was no conflict of interest, despite his statement being considered as evidence against the justices.
Civil Court Judge Mohamed Haleem and Criminal Court Judge Adam Areef testified about working under “influence” to issue rulings, according to secret statements leaked online.
It triggered demands for action against the judges, who admitted to following the orders of Hameed and Saeed, with two former attorney generals calling for their resignation.
Saeed, the country’s first chief justice to face criminal prosecution, was Tuesday found guilty of obstruction of state functions and sentenced to four months and 24 days in prison.
Both judges face additional charges of obstruction of justice and terrorism in connection with an alleged coup plot. They have denied these charges.
Their convictions will trigger automatic removal from the bench if the verdict is upheld by the appeal courts.
Controversial legal changes were pushed through in March to remove convicted judges without the parliamentary vote called for by the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority to approve a finding of gross incompetence or misconduct by the judicial watchdog.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent