High Court to decide on stay of execution of Yameen’s prison sentence on Sunday

Opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom and his lawyers captured at a High Court hearing on March 28, 2023.

High Court, on Thursday, said they will make a decision regarding the stay of execution order requested by opposition leader former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom on the Criminal Court verdict sentencing him to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery charges.

Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, after finding him guilty of money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development. He also received a fine of USD 5 million.

While Yameen has appealed the verdict to High Court, at a hearing held on Thursday, he requested a stay of execution order regarding the enforcement of both the prison sentence and the fine.

Speaking during the hearing, Yameen said he was lengthened stay in prison has brought on many physical difficulties, that are causing irrevocable damage.

Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who is the head of Yameen’s legal team, exampled that stay of execution orders have been issued previously, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to issue a stay of execution order with respect to a Criminal Court verdict sentencing Parliament Speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed to prison. He stressed no amendments have been brought the order to date.

Rebutting Jameel’s argument, the prosecution said the law does not recognize stay of execution orders with respect to criminal cases. The state prosecutor stressed that the law, including the Criminal Procedure Act, does not cover postponing the enforcement of a criminal verdict, while the same rules also applied with respect to the fine.

After listening to arguments from both sides, the bench, presiding over the case, said a decision will be made on the matter next Sunday, which will be shared with both sides in writing.

The judges on the bench include Judge Huzaifa Mohamed, Judge Hussan Shafeeu and Judge Mohamed Saleem.