Yameen wants hearings livestreamed, Yoosuf Naeem objects

Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for the Felidhoo constituency (L) and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom (R).

Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for Felidhoo constituency, who is charged along with former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the sale of V. Aarah has objected to the former president's request for the court hearings to be livestreamed.

When hearing for the case that began on Thursday morning at the Criminal Court, Yameen's team of lawyers noted that since previous hearings, including some of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption case, was aired live, their client wanted to do the same today as well. 

The state did not object to this, and the presiding Judge Ahmed Shakeel also gave the go-ahead to livestream the hearing. 

However, Naeem's lawyer objected, stating that even if parts of the hearings pertaining to Yameen was livestreamed, his client did not wish for the parts pertaining to him to be livestreamed. The lawyer did not give any particular reasoning for the objection. 

Due to this, Judge Shakeel stated that the court will come to a decision on whether to livestream the hearings or not before the 20th and will inform all the parties involved. 

After this announcement, when the opportunity was granted to the state to present the charges, Yameen’s lawyer Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed reiterated concerns on wanting to livestream the hearings and requested a decision to be made on it before proceeding. 

Hence, the Judge inquired whether relevant documents were received and concluded the hearing for the day. He also announced that another hearing would be held on the 27th, where the defendants have to enter their plea. 

Both the former president and Naeem's lawyers stated that some of the CDs sent from the state were not accessible. 

Naeem's lawyer further stated that as he was assigned to the case only a day before the hearing, he requested to be granted a month's time to study the documents. The judge then asked to request for any documents needed before next Thursday, January 20th. 

The Prosecutor General’s Office has charged the former president with money laundering and taking a bribe in connection to the case in November 2021. 

Yameen is accused of misusing his position and taking a USD 1 million bribe as well as laundering the money in the sale of Aarah to Yoosuf Naeem, a former parliamentary representative for Felidhoo constituency. 

Meanwhile, Naeem has been charged with giving a bribe in the same case. 

Yameen had been convicted of similar charges back in 2019. However, he was issued an acquittal by the Supreme Court last November – just short of two years into his five-year prison term.