Democrats promise to ‘do everything possible’ to free ex-pres Yameen

Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

The Democrats – composed of members of a breakaway faction from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – vowed on Monday to “do everything possible” to free former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is serving an 11-year prison term for money laundering.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, after talks between Democrats and the main opposition party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim said the Democrats support the right to a fair trial.

He said the party does not believe it fair that Yameen alone should have to serve a prison sentence in a case that involves many culprits.

“I have always been concerned that one individual alone has been convicted and sent to prison,” he said.

Ali Azim said the opposition leader had the right to a fair trial.

When questioned by a reporter whether the Democrats would join PPM in its efforts to free Yameen, Ali Azim responded that the party would be involved in the efforts in the future.

Speaking further, Ali Azim said the Democrats, however, did not support PPM’s ‘India Out’ movement.

He said the two parties were making compromises to work together.

“PPM-PNC shouldn’t have to change its principles to align with ours in just one day. These things will take time,” he said.

At the press conference, PPM and the Democrats announced plans to hold a joint-rally next Monday.

However, the time and venue has yet to be announced.

PPM and the Democrats have selected a joint committee to engage in bipartisan talks.

PPM officials on the committee are:

  • Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam
  • Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Thoriq
  • Faresmaathoda MP Hussain Mohamed Latheef
  • Mohamed Hussain Shareef (Mundhu)
  • PNC deputy leader Ibrahim Shujau

Democrats’ officials on the committee are:

  • Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim
  • West Henveiru MP Hassan Latheef
  • North Galolhu MP Eva Abdulla
  • STO’s former managing director Hussain Amr

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, after he was found guilty of money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah – a case linked to the greater MMPRC graft case.