Adhurey thanks Pres. Muizzu after Yameen walks free

Chairperson of main ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) Abdul Raheem Abdulla speaks at an event. (Photo/PPM)

PNC’s Chairperson Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) has thanked President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu after former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom walked free on Thursday, subsequent to the High Court overturned a conviction against him for money laundering and bribery.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, on charges of bribery and money laundering in connection to the sale of V. Aarah. The High Court delivered its verdict on Thursday, after a months-long pause in the appeal proceedings.

But instead of a full exoneration, the court overturned the two convictions and ordered a retrial in the case.

In a post on X following the verdict, Abdul Raheem said President Muizzu has proven his administration will not influence the judiciary.

He further said the President has proven that each Maldivian citizen will receive justice without any discrimination and proven the judiciary as a sector where judicial officials have the opportunity to independently review cases.

The conviction in the Aarah case had disqualified Yameen from contesting the 2023 presidential elections. Though he initially asked the then-opposition PPM-PNC (Progressive Party of Maldives-People’s National Congress) coalition to boycott the election, he later endorsed President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, who won the vote taken by the coalition’s joint senate to produce a backup candidate.

Yameen was transferred home on October 1, 2023 – a day after President Muizzu won the presidential election.

But less than a week after President Muizzu took office in November, Yameen left the ruling PPM-PNC and initiated efforts to form a new party, the People’s National Front (PNF).

He has also grown increasingly vocal in his criticism of President Muizzu’s administration, has repeatedly alleged that President Muizzu and other members of the PPM-PNC leadership had never wanted him freed.

Freeing Yameen has been one of President Muizzu’s main electoral pledges. President Muizzu has recently remarked that he remains true to his pledge. Affirming he does not influence the judiciary, the President said Yameen’s independence remains in the hands of the judiciary. 

The verdict was suddenly scheduled last night merely days after Speaker Mohamed Aslam – a top politician from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – threatened to lodge a case with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) regarding the delay in Yameen’s appeal.

President Muizzu has attributed the timing to MDP’s influence over the judiciary while speaking at a rally last night.