Govt. begins work on swimming track for jailed former President Yameen

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is escorted back to Maafushi Prison following his hearing at the High Court on July 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has said that the government was working to build a swimming track in Maafushi Prison for former President Abdulla Yameen, who is in prison after being found guilty of money laundering late last year.

Opposition members had met with Home Minister Imran last Thursday and requested the Minister to make arrangements for Yameen to get exercise from swimming. 

Speaking in the 'Fala Surukhee' program of Raajje TV last night, Minister Imran said that the waters near the prison were prone to strong tides due to the land reclamation of the island, which in turn had put a stop to swimming activity in the area. 

"So I replied that I cannot permit Yameen to swim in the area in that situation. I said that i will arrange to build a track in the area for swimming purposes," said Imran. 

The initial work on the swimming track had to be halted due to COVID-19, said the Minister. 

"I said that i will arrange it when we overcome the situation." said the Minister. 

Opposition members had also requested to permit Yameen access to the television while in prison. Home Minister Imran said that the state media channels PSM was currently available and that more channels would be included later on.

Minister Imran said that the detention of Yameen had led the authorities to ramp up the services at the prison, something that he was closely monitoring. 

"I am providing assurances that Yameen would not be deprived of any basic rights. That we will treat them in the best possible manner. Better, much better than how they treated us. They are very well aware this." said the Minister. 

Home Minister Imran Abdulla. (Sun File Photo/Muzayyin Nazim)

Regarding the accusations of Yameen being deprived of attorney-client meetings, Minister Imran said that it was not true and failure to make travel arrangements was not something he or the authorities should be responsible for.

Yameen's lawyers had issued a statement saying that Maldives Corrections had deprived Yameen of meeting his lawyers since March. 

A hearing regarding the new charges levied against Yameen is scheduled to be held today in the Criminal Court. Yameen's lawyers had expressed concern over the hearings because they had been unable to meet with their client. 

Yameen, already convicted of money laundering, is facing new charges from the state today. He was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison late last year. the conviction is now on appeal at the High Court.