Criminal Court Chief Judge, Ahmed Hailam claims that he faced pressure from senior government officials, to issue a guilty verdict in former President Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering trial.
He said this in a statement released on Thursday, after being slapped with a 60-day suspension by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
While Judge Ali Rasheed has replaced him as chief judge at the court temporarily, RaajjeMV understands that his successor will be presiding over Yameen’s hearing scheduled for November 17.
According to Hailam, senior government officials have “directly and indirectly” contacted him in attempt to exert their influence in the case.
He claimed that the officials had contacted him through messages, phone calls or via a third party requesting for assurance of a guilty verdict for the former president since charges were raised against him this February, but did not disclose their identities.
He added that most of these attempts took place on 3rd and 4th November.
The judge further alleged to being blackmailed with bank transaction between him and former lawmaker Alhan Fahmy on 19th May 2019.
Noting that he was told that the case was at the police, Hailam said that they had threatened him that the case “can be looked into” as well as with “suspension”.
Further, he said that a senior police officer had questioned him regarding the transaction, and that he had told him how the transaction took place. Hailam said that police had decided not to proceed further, as no criminal acts had taken place.
The judge also noted that there is no connection between his work at court and Alhan, adding that he has been a friend “since way before becoming a lawmaker.”
Hailam further claimed that the interim chief judge “will also be aware of this now” and that he has no choice “if he does not want to be suspended” as well.
He also criticized JSC in the statement, over its decision to “chase after him” for not guaranteeing to put a certain individual in jail.
No one needs to know how a judge is going to issue a verdict in a case he is presiding over. No matter, how high the rank.
The judge also apologized for the disrespectful image he shared via Viber earlier this week, again, indicating that this made things worse.
The image showed President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed -who is also the incumbent speaker- being pulled by chains, along with other figures including the mastermind behind the 1988 coup attempt. While Hailam claims not to have seen Solih and Nasheed in the image.
Judge Hailam was suspended on Tuesday, hours ahead of Yameen’s verdict hearing in the money laundering trial. Following his suspension, the hearing was cancelled.