Opposition plan protests to mark 1-year of Yameen's imprisonment

October 24, 2019: Former President Yameen at a gathering in front of PPM offices in Male' city. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Opposition coalition parties of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) are planning to hold protests on the one-year occasion of the imprisonment of former President Abdulla Yameen who was found guilty of money laundering. 

Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of money laundering in relation to the acquisition costs of G. A. Vodamulla, believed to have been one of the islands leased under the massive MMPRC corruption scandal, which is the biggest in the nation’s history. Yameen began serving his term on November 28, 2019, after a trial dubbed by the opposition as politically motivated and a sham. 

Saturday marks a year since Yameen began serving his sentence, and the opposition coalition has announced protests for 16:00 on Saturday under the name, “The Maldives Against Cruelty”. The coalition made the announcement in a press conference held today. 

PPM deputy leader Ibrahim Shujau said that the coalition did not have to be bound by the health safety requirements of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) which still disallows large public gatherings due to the situation with COVID-19, when the main party of the governing coalition, MDP was not bound by these requirements. 

November 29, 2019: Supporters of President Yameen protest near Male' Jail. The former President was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in jail. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

“We will not care for Maimoona (Director General of Public Health Safety). We will not care for HPA measures when MDP does not.” Said Shujau during the presser. 

Opposition coalition members also expressed discontent towards the prolonged appeal case of former President Yameen. The sentence of five years against Yameen was appealed to the High Court which concluded hearings in September. PPM deputy leader and MP for Naifaru Ahmed Shiyam also criticized the prolonged verdict of the case. 

Opposition coalition members also targeted current Supreme Court Justice Ali Rasheed who had sentenced Yameen last year. Opposition politicians described the nomination of Justice Rasheed to the top court as a repayment for the sentencing of Yameen, a claim they have previously made. However, the opposition coalition took things further by proclaiming that Justice Rasheed would find himself in prison in an administration of theirs. 

“Ali Rasheed may live today on the wages of the Supreme Court. When we come to power, he will have to spend the rest of his days in prison.” Said Shujau.