The court sentence imposed on Former President and opposition leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who was found guilty of corruption and money laundering charges over the leasing of Aarah Island in Vaavu atoll to a foreign party for resort development, is to be appealed next week in High Court.
Speaking at the press conference held by the opposition coalition, Yameen’s legal representative Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed stated that they have thoroughly studied the verdict report issued in connection with Yameen’s case and that the appeal will be filed in the upcoming week.
The Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to 11 years in prison and fined him USD five million in connection with the case, on 25 December 2022.
The former president’s attorneys had earlier stated that they would file an appeal of the verdict, with them having protested over delays in providing a summary report on the case.
The following day, the Criminal Court had issued the summary report and Yameen’s lawyers had back then stated that they were working to prepare the application form for the appeal process.
Court verdicts may be appealed at the High Court within 60 days without the inclusion of public holidays, in connection with criminal cases.
Yameen’s lawyer Abdulla Shiyaz noted that in order to file the appeal, a request was made to acquire the report on the completion of the trial with the statements on 25 December 2022, however, they had not received the report until recently.
He noted that an "incomplete" summary report was provided to them initially.
Shiyaz added that one of the contents of the appeal would be the statements made by both parties during the trial.
During Yameen’s verdict hearing in December 2022, presiding judge Ahmed Shakeel had noted that no justification was given on why such a massive sum of money was deposited to the private account of Yameen, while he was in such a position of power.
He cited evidence showing that the money deposited to Yameen's private bank account is money laundered during the leasing of Aarah Island.
His sentence includes seven years in prison and a fine of USD five million on being found guilty of money laundering and four years behind bars on being found guilty of accepting bribes and for acts of corruption.
Despite his sentencing and him losing power in 2018 after incumbent president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the 2018 presidential elections, the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has declared their incarcerated leader as their presidential candidate for this year’s presidential election.
Back in 2019, Yameen was sentenced to five years and fined USD five million for embezzling USD one million in state funds, which the prosecution said was acquired through the lease of resort development rights.
Following a few months into his sentencing, Yameen was transferred to house arrest in 2020 and freed by the Supreme Court months later citing a fault in an evidence document.
After his release, Yameen returned to political activities once more.
However, with his recent incarceration, his supporters have once again begun taking to the streets of the capital city, calling for his release.