Maldives Judicial Independence in Question Amidst Indian Training Programs

Ahmed Shakeel, the chief judge of the Criminal Court of the Maldives, has completed a special training program in India. India has been conducting training programs for judicial staff in the Maldives since President Solih assumed office. However, concerns have been raised as some of these judges preside over cases in which India has a vested interest. The training programs are facilitated by the Indian High Commission in the Maldives, and participants are briefed by Indian officials before departing to India.
Many in the Maldives see this as an attempt by India to exert soft power over the Maldivian judiciary. The Indian High Commission has denied these claims and has emphasized that the training programs are purely for capacity-building purposes. However, the fact that some of the judges who have completed the training are presiding over cases related to India raises eyebrows.
Among the judges who completed the training are judges who are presiding over the case submitted to nullify the decree issued by President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih to ban the India Out Movement. This has led to concerns about potential conflicts of interest and undue influence on the Maldivian judiciary.
Chief Judge Shakeel’s participation in the program is also raising concerns, given that he sentenced former President Yameen to prison on December 25th. The opposition has accused India of influencing the verdict issued by Shakeel.The Maldives’ judiciary has long been plagued by corruption and inefficiency, and the country has been working to reform its judicial system. However, the Indian training programs have raised questions about whether these efforts are being undermined by outside influence. Meanwhile, in neighboring India, more than 100,000 cases have been stuck in the courts for more than 30 years, highlighting the corruption and inefficiency of the Indian judiciary.

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