Hussain Humaam was arrested for the murder of Raa. Ungoofaaru Member of Par l iament Afrasheem Ali, who was found murdered near his residence on the 8th of October 2012.

He was arrested as a suspect during the initial round of investigations during which he confessed to the crime. He was tried at the Criminal Court where he was found guilty of first-degree murder on January 2013 on the basis of the aforementioned confession, and also witness testimony and forensic evidence which, according to prosecutors, attested to his guilt and corroborates with his confession.

Humaam subsequently retracted his previous confession, stating that it had been made under duress following police intimidation and, furthermore, on the understanding that if he had confessed, prosecutors would not press for the death penalty. Whilst Humaam has stated that although he is responsible for much violent activity during his criminal past, he denies involvement in Afrasheem’s murder.

The case was subsequently appealed to the High Court. It should be noted that although Humaam did not appeal the verdict within the time period allowed to make an appeal, under regulations pertinent to the death penalty in the Maldives, the death sentence can only be implemented after all stages of appeal have been exhausted. Hence death sentences handed out by the Criminal Court will automatically be appealed to the High Court after the period of appeal ends. Corollarily, if death penalty verdicts are upheld at the High Court, such cases will then automatically be sent to the Supreme Court for the final stage of appeal.

The High Court upheld the verdict in December 2015 stating that Humaam had twice confessed, and that court guidelines do not allow one to retract confessions of that nature at a later date; they further iterated the Criminal Court ruling citing that the aforementioned witness testimony and forensic evidence corroborated with Humaam’s earlier confession.

Currently the case is at the final stage of appeal at the Supreme Court, which has already held preliminary hearings. Humaam’s lawyers are, as of this writing, requesting that the Supreme Court allow them more time to prepare a defence, as the High Court has not yet given them the case report elaborating on their verdict (this reasoning was dismissed by the SC on the understanding that the relevant report is available on the High Court website). If the Supreme Court upholds the verdict of the Criminal Court and the High Court and all of Dr. Afrasheem’s surviving relatives insist on the application of the death penalty, there is a significant possibility that the state will put Humaam to death.

View/download a PDF of the Case Study: Hussein Humaam sentenced in Afrasheem murder


On the 1st of May 2015, Adhaalath Party leader, Sheikh Imran Abdulla participated in an antigovernment rally and delivered a speech lambasting President Yameen Abdul Qayoom’s administration. He was arrested on the day on the basis that his speech was directly responsible for the violence that ensued during the demonstration. Though he was not convicted of any offence the Criminal Court kept Sheikh Imran in detention based on the reasoning that he might express opinions that could contribute to further public disorder.

Sheikh Imran was subsequently released on the 27th of May before being rearrested two days later at the request of the Prosecutor General on the basis that Sheikh Imran’s speech constituted terrorism under the 1990 Terrorism Act.

On the 1st of June, the Criminal Court ordered him to be brought to court under police custody, with hearings scheduled for the next day.

Following the initial hearings, however, Sheikh Sheikh Imran was held without trial for a period in excess of 150 days before the trial process resumed on the 12th of October. It should be noted that during this period Sheikh Imran was repeatedly transferred between house arrest and prison, despite not having been convicted of any offence.

It is important to emphasize that under Article 14 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Maldives acceded to in September 2006, the accused is to be tried without undue delay.

Furthermore the reasoning provided for the inordinate delay between the initial hearing and the resumption of the trial was that a new courtroom was under construction. Once the trial resumed however, hearings and trials took place inside of an old courtroom building.

During the trial prosecutors argued that Sheikh Imran’s speech directly contributed to the violence on May Day protest and that, under the Freedom of Assembly Act, organizers of a protest must be proactive in ensuring that violence does not occur as a result of their demonstrations.

It should be noted that during the speech Sheikh Imran repeatedly denied any intent of violence against the government. Nonetheless, the Criminal Cour t found the prosecution’s arguments persuasive and on the 28th of February 2016 found Sheikh Imran guilty of the charge of terrorism. Sheikh Imran was subsequently sentenced by the Criminal Court to 12 years in prison. Sheikh Imran still has the ability to have thisverdict contested at the High Court.

View/download PDF of Case Study: Sheikh Imran sentenced on terrorism charges


The purpose of this governance update is to provide a very brief introduction to the historical development of the Maldivian Judiciary from the earliest recorded times up until the introduction of the new Constitution in 2008.

Prior to the country embracing Islam in 1153 A.D legal disputes were settled according to customary law (Fooruve Rudin). The King (Radun) was the highest authority on judicial matters and a council of nobles and religious functionaries would have advised him in settling legal disputes that arose between his subjects.

Following the Maldives’ conversion to Islam there was an attempt to impose a uniform system of Islamic Sharia across the country – often with visiting Arabic travellers being offered senior judicial posts on the assumption that their superior command of Arabic than locals would have made them more erudite on matters of religious law.

View/download the governance update on Ancient judiciary of the Maldives


Transparency Maldives condemns the recent spate of reprisals against journalists and media outlets by the State, particularly the arrest of a group journalists from 6 different media outlets on 3 April 2016. The journalists were protesting against recent developments that further stifled media freedom in the country.

Despite repeated concerns raised by international actors, local and international civil society, journalists and political parties, media conditions continue to deteriorate with numerous incidents of harassment and violence against journalists reported, compounded with a host of legal restrictions placed on press freedom. This includes the move to criminalise defamation, a recent court order to halt the publication of Haveeru News – longest running newspaper in the country – and the arrest of 16 journalists who were calling for press freedom.

We appeal to the Government of Maldives to uphold its State obligation towards freedom of speech and association (ICCPR and its First Optional Protocol (acceded to in 2006), and immediately withdraw the Defamation Bill from the Parliament and open up space for press freedom in the Maldives as enshrined in Article 28 of the Maldivian Constitution.

ENDS

View/download the press release in English


Transparency Maldives (TM) calls on parliamentarians, political parties, civil society actors including media, and citizens to stand up to protect civil and political liberties guaranteed under Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

TM is deeply concerned by the recent bill submitted by the ruling party to criminalise defamation and expressions contrary to national interest or tenets of Islam. The bill criminalises defamatory comments, anti-Islamic rhetoric and comments threatening national security. Anyone convicted under the law faces an initial punishment of a fine ranging from MVR 50,000 (USD 3, 262/-) to MVR 5 million (USD 324,000/-). Should a convict fail to pay the fine, he/she would be sentenced to a year in prison.

The criminal defamation bill is yet another attempt to stifle freedom of expression and dissenting voice in the Maldives. The law would be an addition to the list of anti-democratic laws and regulations passed over the past year to repress criticism and mark a dramatic deterioration on an already poor human rights record.

We also note with concern that this proposed law comes at a time when a massive grand corruption case amounting to MVR 1.22 billion is being investigated with widespread allegations of involvement of high-level public officials. Restrictions on freedom of expression also infringes on freedom of information and freedom of speech, making exposing corruption and holding corrupt officials to account impossible when individuals, particularly civil society actors and journalists, can be prosecuted for dissent.

We call on the parliament, judiciary, the executive and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives to deliver on their constitutional duty to protect civil and political liberties of Maldivians and to facilitate an environment where citizens can hold those that govern them accountable without fear of persecution.

ENDS

View/download the press release in English


This governance update intends to highlight the problematic issues arising from the existence of serious gaps in the Maldivian legislative framework. The aforementioned gaps chiefly refer to the lack of procedural legislation that would serve as a guide to all relevant officials with regard to the technical and administrative substance of dispensing justice, whilst also delineating the rights that any person accused of a crime is to be entitled to.

At the time that this governance update is being written there is currently no Criminal Procedure Code, Civil Procedure Code or an up to date Evidence Act in operation in the Maldives. As will be expounded in the following sections, the existence of these gaps are severely problematic as it leaves proper procedure to be interpreted at the discretion of individual judges, leaving considerable scope for inconsistency in how justice is applied.

This update will focus separately on each of the above mentioned elements and, after explaining what each of these are, provide some detail with regard to why the lack of each has a detrimental impact on the quality of justice available in Maldives. It is hoped that this update can shine a light on why ameliorating this issue should be treated as a matter of urgency in terms of strengthening the efficiency and integrity of the Maldivian justice system.

Read the governance update on Legislative gaps


Transparency Maldives (TM) is seeking individuals/parties for the following service contract.

Position Title: Translator
Minimum period of commitment: 07 days
Application deadline: 22 March 2016
Location: Male’, Maldives

View/download the Terms of Reference

I. Organizational Background                 
Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Our organization seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and to eliminate corruption from the daily  lives of people.
Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

II. Position Summary
Transparency Maldives is seeking a consultant to translate a qualitative survey report produced by TM from English to Dhivehi.

III. Key Responsibilities

  1. Translate (approximately 20 – 30 pages) survey report from English to Dhivehi.

Closing date for applications: Before 5:00 pm on 22 March 2016.
Application and selection procedures: Submit 1) a letter of interest 2) curriculum vitae, and 3) samples of previous work 4) and quotation via email to afnan.latheef@transparencymaldives.org  addressed to Ms. Mariyam Shiuna, Executive Director. For queries contact Afnan Latheef (9559080).


Transparency Maldives (TM) is seeking individuals/parties for the position of Layout Design Consultant.

Position Title:
Layout Design Consultant
Minimum period of commitment: 10 days
Application deadline: 22 March 2016
Location: Male’, Maldives

View/download the Terms of Reference

I. Organizational Background                  

Transparency Maldives is a non-partisan organization that endeavors to be a constructive force in society by promoting collaboration and discussion on corruption, transparency and accountability. Our organization seeks to engage with stakeholders from all sectors (government, business, politics and civil society, among others) to raise awareness of corruption’s detrimental effects on development and society, improve transparency and accountability in governance, and to eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people. Transparency Maldives received formal government registration in 2007, and is the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) in the Maldives.

II. Position Summary
Transparency Maldives is seeking a consultant to design the layout for the final survey report produced by TM for the MCWP project. The consultant will review the final report and design the layout for the report.

III. Key Responsibilities

  1. Design layout of a survey report produced by Transparency Maldives.

IV. Qualifications and competencies

  1. Minimum of 2 years work experience in media communications or graphics designing.
  2. Excellent knowledge of layout and design in both Dhivehi and English.

Closing date for applications: Before 5:00 pm on 22 March 2016.

Application and selection procedures: Submit 1) a letter of interest 2) curriculum vitae or portfolio, and 3) quotation via email toafnan.latheef@transparencymaldives.org  addressed to Ms. Mariyam Shiuna, Executive Director. For queries contact Afnan Latheef (9559080).


Criminal Procedure consists of the rules governing the administration of justice with regard to individuals who have been accused of having committed a crime. It encompasses all the steps relevant to the pursuit of justice against an alleged criminal offender, beginning with the initial investigation of the crime up until the conclusion of their trial.

The importance of Criminal Procedure Codes lies in that it provides important directions to all officials involved in the enforcement of criminal justice and furthermore clarifies the rights that are afforded to an alleged criminal offender.

Despite this, a systemized and codified set of Criminal Law guidelines is not yet available in the Maldives. Although a bill has been pending in parliament since 2010, there is, to iterate, currently no specific legislation comprehensively delineating Criminal Procedure.

The procedures in the governance update are thus predicated on a combination of regulations made by the Ministry of Justice predating the 2008 constitution, and rules and regulations subsequently made by the Supreme Court along with an evolving set of principles that have become convention through court precedent.

Read the governance update on Criminal procedure in the Maldives

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Transparency Maldives, jointly with Youth Integrity Network, Dhi Youth Movement, Maldivian Democracy Network, Maldives Ports Workers Union, Teachers Association of Maldives, Tourism Employees Association of Maldives, and Maldives Association for Physical Disables issued a press statement regarding the International Workers Day rally.

The International Workers Day rally will begin as scheduled at 4 pm from Male’ Social Centre on May 1, 2016. The rally is organised by 8 local NGOs and the Male’ City Council, Women’s Development Committee.

View/download the press statement in Dhivehi