Yameen’s lawyers accuse govt. of intentionally stalling High Court appeal

Lawyers of opposition leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom holds a press conference on September 21, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maavee)

The lawyers of the jailed opposition leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom have accused their client’s cases are being stalled under an intentional plan by the government.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison and slapped with a USD 5 million fine on December 25, 2022, after he was found guilty of money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.

A hearing in the appeal, after a long period of time, was slated for this afternoon. However, the hearing was canceled at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office).

The canceled hearing has been rescheduled for September 26th.

At a press conference held on Thursday following the cancellation of the hearing – the lead lawyer in Yameen’s legal team Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed alleged systemic influence of the trial solely because Yameen is party to the case.

He stressed Yameen’s trial was unfolding outside the specific laws, regulations and policies set down to govern the trials.

As a first example, he pointed out the promotions granted to judges who presided over Yameen’s trials after the judgment was delivered – which he described as something as never witnessed from a Maldivian leader before.  

Jameel, here, is referring to promotions received by Judge Ali Rasheed and Judge Ahmed Shakeel who had sentenced Yameen to prison previously.

Speaking further, Jameel, noting Yameen’s High Court appeal was at the stage of delivering the judgment, said there was no point in stalling the judgment. He urged to deliver the judgment, no matter, its content.

He cited this as the only way the lawyers would know how to proceed further.

“Do not want to be transferred for home confinement. Do not want to conclude the case. Do not want to hold hearings. The clear thing is the government’s influence,” he said.

Jameel also expressed concern over failed attempts to transfer Yameen to home confinement.

“To be sent home after stay of execution of the judgment; this could not be done either,” he said.

Jameel stressed that the government must not take the lead in purposefully stalling the trial; urging the government to stop.