PPM, PNC appeal for ex-leader Yameen to be released to house arrest

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom transported to Male' City for questioning by Maldives Police Service on February 27, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The opposition coalition, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) has called for former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to be released from Maafushi Prison and transferred to house arrest, after monitoring mechanisms were placed on K. Maafushi by the health authorities over virus fears.

Health authorities have placed 243 residences and 22 individual islands under monitoring over mounting virus cases.

K. Maafushi, which houses the prison where Yameen is serving a five-year sentence for money laundering, was placed under monitoring on Sunday.

The opposition coalition issued a statement this Monday morning, in which they said that they were deeply concerned over the uncertainty regarding the situation within the prison or the extent to which Yameen’s safety and security was assured, with Maafushi under monitoring.

They also expressed concern the situation could prevent him from exercising his right to meet his lawyers.

They called for Yameen to be released from prison and transferred to house arrest.

“We therefore call for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s immediate transfer to house arrest in order to ascertain his safety and security. And we also call for the imposition of quick and efficient measures to ascertain safety and security within the Maafushi Prison,” said the coalition in their statement.

The coalition also said they were concerned because the health authorities had not specified a reason for the imposition of monitoring mechanism’s on Maafushi. They called on the health authorities to reveal the “real situation” within Maafushi to provide a measure of relief from fear and uncertainty.

The latest call for Yameen’s release to house arrest comes after the coalition called for Yameen to be allowed to serve his prison sentence under house arrest during the holy month of Ramadan, alleging that the conviction against him was political.

Yameen was sentenced to prison in late 2019, after he was found guilty of laundering USD 1 million in misappropriated State funds - the acquisition cost for G. A. Vodamula.