25 July 2013
Maldives Judiciary: Immediately suspend Judge Ali Hameed of Supreme Court alleged in Sexual Exploitation of Women and Sexual Crimes, Credibility of the Supreme Court, Credibility of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Equality and Fairness before the Law.
In the past twenty years human trafficking has become one of the most shameful emerging issues in South Asia. Some of the figures show that about 225,000 women and children are trafficked annually from South Asia. This represents one third of the global sex industry created by the exploitation of these young women and children valued at about $32 billion annually.
VoW raises concern over the alleged sexual exploitation of several women by a judge belonging to the Supreme Court of the Maldives. The allegations revolve around several videos of a man who appears to resemble Judge Ali Hameed engaging in sexual acts with different women. The story initially broke amid the arrest of a prominent member of the incumbent President’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party (GIP) Mr. Ahmed Faiz (who also served at the chairman of Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation). Mr. Faiz has since been accused of blackmailing judge Hameed with the sex videos.
Our concerns, centered on this case, are:
- Judge Ali Hameed continues to preside on the Supreme Court bench despite insistence by the Maldives Bar Association that doing so raises questions about the impartiality of any probe into the alleged crimes by the judge and undermines the entire judicial system.
- Possible gross sexual exploitation of several women by a Supreme Court judge. This behavior is unbecoming of a person in such a position of responsibility and authority.
- Further degradation of credibility of the Judiciary and specifically of the Supreme Court.
- Credibility of the Judicial Services Commission, JSC (judicial watchdog) as noted by their hesitation to immediately suspend judge Ali Hameed pending the results of the investigation.
- A committee of 5 members was appointed by the JSC to investigate the alleged sex videos. However, two members of the committee have resigned over reasons that have not been disclosed. These resignations are concerning as it could have been triggered by internal or external forces to influence the decision of the committee.
- Grave concern that Mr. Fahmy Hassan, (president of the Civil Service Commission who has been voted by the Parliament to be removed from his post over allegations of sexually harassing a female colleague) sits in committees deciding on issues regarding Judge Ali Hameed.
- Involvement of a prominent member of president Waheed’s Party in alleged blackmailing of a Supreme Court judge. This raises the question of the President’s party meddling with the Judiciary and influencing their decisions.
We call upon the authorities to:
- Immediately suspend Judge Ali Hameed while investigations into alleged sexual crimes against him are ongoing.
- Investigate the case thoroughly and in a transparent manner, using all means available so that justice is done and justice appears to be done.
- Investigate and impose due sentences in a manner that is fair; especially keeping in mind the recent high profile case of a 15 year old girl who was sentenced to flogging for extramarital sexual relations.
- Call upon the parliament to immediately reform the JSC to ensure their impartiality, taking into account the points raised in the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers in Maldives.
- Disclose the reasons behind resignation of two out the five members appointed by the JSC to investigate the alleged sexual crimes by Judge Ali Hameed.
- Not to dismiss this investigation prematurely in a manner that makes the public feel there is bias in the investigation.
- Not to conduct the investigation, possible legal action and sentencing in a manner that would enhance the public perception that men who commit sexual infractions are judged with a different set of laws than women.