Lower court unsure when Yameen’s retrial can be scheduled

Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom exits High Court on April 18, 2024. (Sun Photo/Moosa Nadheem)

Criminal Court, on Tuesday, said they are unsure when the retrial of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoon can be held despite days since the High Court overturned the lower court’s verdict and ordered a retrial.

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

On April 28th, High overturned the two convictions and ordered a retrial in the case, citing Criminal Court committed major wrongs in the trial and the verdict was issued “outside the bounds of the law.”

Speaking with Sun on Tuesday, Criminal Court’s Spokesperson said the retrial is yet to be scheduled, adding the case had only been assigned to a section just this week.

“Therewith, the section said they are unable to specify a date they can schedule [a hearing],” the Spokesperson stressed.

Criminal Court -- Sun Photo/ Fayaz Moosa

The former president who led the Maldives from 2013 to 2018 was accused of accepting a bribe from then-Felidhoo MP Yoosuf Naeem in the sale of V. Aarah for tourism development during his administration, and laundering the said money.

High Court overturned the convictions against both Yameen and Yoosuf Naeem in the case.

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). The party failed to secure any seats in the 20th parliament during April’s election following which Yameen has faded away from the political arena.