Judge Faiz: Yameen sentenced after holding judges hostage

Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad.

With appeal proceedings scheduled to start at the Supreme Court in September, one of the judges on the Criminal Court's five-member bench which sentenced former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to prison for money laundering has been caught on video saying the sentence was issued by holding the judges “hostage”. 

Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad made the comment in a conversation with a friend. Sun has received an audio recording of the conversation. 

Conversing with his friend, Faiz said there are many ways a person can be held hostage. He said that though the person himself may not be held hostage, it can be done by holding his wife or a loved one hostage. 

Faiz is also heard describing trials involving politicians as an "unusual business”, and saying that being imprisoned unjustly can only boost Yameen’s popularity. 

He also said that Yameen was convicted of the crime not based on just one reason, but based on multiple reasons, but that he is unable to divulge details. 

Faiz said that Yameen’s conviction will serve in his favor in the long run, and that it will be clear in 2023 – when Maldives will hold the presidential elections. 

He also said that one out of five judges issuing a dissenting opinion would have no effect on the outcome. 

Yameen’s trial was originally assigned to then-chief judge Ahmed Hailam, but he was suspended at the last minute and a five-judge bench was established to hear the case. The other four judges on the bench, in addition to Faiz were, Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain, Judge Mohamed Sameer, Judge Ahmed Shakeel, and Judge Ali Adam. 

Yameen was found guilty of laundering USD 1 million from the sale of GA. Vodamula  by the Criminal Court on November 28, 2019.  He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined USD 5 million. Yameen promptly appealed the conviction with the High Court, which sided against him and ruled to uphold the original sentence on January 21, 2021. 

He subsequently appealed the conviction with the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to begin appeal proceedings in September.