Hailam accuses government of influence peddling in Ex-President's case

Chief Judge of Criminal Court Ahmed Hailam has accused top government officials of trying to influence, both directly and indirectly, the ongoing money laundering case against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Judge Hailam, who is currently suspended by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over a disrespectful Victory Day greeting, stated in a statement that JSC is running a character assignation campaign by suspending him. He further said the top government officials tried to influence him via people close to him, especially on November 3 and 4, before the scheduled verdict hearing of the former president on November 5. He also said top officials messaged him requesting a guarantee of a jail sentence on Yaameen over the money laundering charges.

When Hailam denied to guarantee a jail sentence, his recent financial transaction with former Parliamentarian Alhan Fahmy was used to threaten him. The statement did not include the names and the numbers of the officials he highlighted. He also discussed his connection with Alhan highlighting the former parliamentarian neither visits the Criminal Court in any capacity nor does Hailam preside over any case of interest to Alhan. Maldives Police Services found no grounds to make a case against the transaction between Alhan and him, according to the statement.

The rhetoric on Thursday's statement was also similar to the earlier statement in which he apologized for using the disrespectful picture illustrating President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed in chains. He said he posted the photo to the Viber group without checking the photo properly.

Judge Hailam refused to present himself in front of JSC regarding the shared discourteous photo, claiming his previous statement on the matter suffices JSC questions. Following Hailam's statement, the opposition have called the police to investigate his claims and identify the officials who tried to influence the verdict.

The opposition also requested the court to establish a bench of judges to preside over the case, rather than allowing a single judge to issue a verdict on the case.