Malé, Maldives – The hearing set for today at the Criminal Court of Maldives against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom for money laundering and bribery has been cancelled.
The hearing was cancelled as per the request of the defense counsel, citing the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Malé and former President Yameen falls in the high risk category.
A statement released by opposition last night states that, while the hearings are pre-scheduled, since President Yameen is a high risk individual, it is against the Article 21 of Maldives constitution to attend the hearing. The opposition says that physical hearings are a threat to his right to life.
The Article 21, Right to life states that,
Constitution of the Republic of Maldives
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right not be deprived thereof to any extent except pursuant to a law made in accordance with Article 16 of [the Maldives] Constitution.
The defense counsel has requested all hearings to be delayed until the Covid-19 crisis is over.
While the former President was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined USD 5 million in November 8, 2019, President Yameen has currently served more than 400 days of his 5 year money laundering sentence after USD 1 million was found to have been transferred to his account under suspicions circumstances.
After he appealed this sentence at the High Court, highlighting a total of 75 points at the sentencing today, 2 of the 3 judges delivering the verdict supported Criminal Court’s decision.
President Yameen also has other ongoing cases against him. The Prosecutor General is currently charging the Former President of accepting bribes worth MVR 117,000 during the lease of R. Fuggiri for the development of a tourist resort. Along with the Former President, Ahmed Krik Rilhaa of MA.Kurikeelahiya, Male’, is also accused of being involved in the embezzlement of money in the case.
In addition to this, Sun Constructions and Engineering Private Limited and Sun Investment Private Limited are also accused of money laundering in the case. While President Yameen is accused of accepting bribery and money laundering, Ahmed Krik Rilhaa is being accused of being a medium during the transfer of bribery and of money laundering.
Most recently, the Former President is accused of laundering MVR 15.3 million (USD 1 million) involving the sale of V. Aarah to a foreign party.