Muizzu: Called and begged president to change Yameen to home

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition's leadership's press conference on August 8, 2023.

Opposition People’s National Congress (PNC)’s presidential candidate, Male’ City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, on Tuesday night, revealed he called President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and begged to transfer jailed opposition leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Gayyoom who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence, to home confinement.

Muizzu, speaking at the first press conference since the Elections Commission (EC) accepted his candidacy, said the coalition’s first priority after winning the upcoming election will be “saving Yameen from jail”.

Noting efforts to free Yameen have not slowed down in any way, Muizzu said all activities of the opposition coalition will be carried out under the guidance of Yameen.

Muizzu, underscoring the coalition’s main priority till Yameen is transferred to home confinement is undertaking all efforts to free him, revealed an appeal was recently made to President Solih to free the opposition leader.

“Called President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and asked him to change President Yameen to home,” he said.

Disclosing further details of the phone call, Muizzu said the phone call was placed after Supreme Court declared Yameen ineligible to contest the election.

“I said that they wanted to ensure President Yameen cannot contest. That his inability to contest has now been confirmed. That I was begging to let him come home now. I begged President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to change President Yameen to home,” he said.

Muizzu also said he relayed to President Solih that Yameen’s imprisonment, was not only affecting him, but also his family. He restated he begged to change Yameen to home confinement.

“The president replied that he would think about it. Therewith I am hoping, and even urging again tonight to respond to the appeal I made two days ago, and change Yameen to home immediately,” he said.

Muizzu, alleging Yameen to be a political prisoner, stressed the current administration, reserved the power to change Yameen to home confinement, within the bounds of law. 

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development on December 25, 2022.

Despite his imprisonment, he submitted his candidacy for the September 9 election last week.

EC rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction, citing Article 109 (f) of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.

He contested the decision with the Supreme Court, which ruled on Sunday that the EC was right to declare the opposition leader ineligible to contest the election.