Supreme Court denies bail for ex-President Yameen

Former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel and Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom | Photo: Avas

Malé, Maldives – The Supreme Court (SC) of Maldives, today, denied the appeal to free former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom on bail.

The defence filed two motions at the Supreme Court on September 12, to release Yameen on bail and for a stay of execution pending appeal for his Criminal Court sentence.

Of these, the SC today denied release on bail for the former President while allowing a stay order for the payment of the USD 5 million fine imposed by the Criminal Court until the appeal is complete.

The SC passed a stay order for the fine while the Civil Court scheduled a hearing regarding the same for tomorrow.

The SC denied a stay of Yameen’s full sentence stating that appealing a verdict of a lower court does not negate the actual verdict and there is no such law that suspends the execution of a sentence once a case is appealed at a higher court.

Addressing the request for bail, Presiding Supreme Court Justice Mahaz Ali Zahir stated that there is legal right for a convict to be granted release on bail, as bail is a right only granted to suspects on trial as opposed to those convicted according to the Criminal Procedure Code (Act No. 12/2016).

The former President Yameen’s appeal SC case is judged by a three-member bench, composed of Presiding Justice Mahaz, Justice Azmiralda Zahir and Justice Mohamed Ibrahim.

In November 2019, the Criminal Court sentenced that Yameen was guilty of laundering USD 1 million of the government through MMPRC by leasing GA. Vodamula. While a verdict on that case was appealed at the High Court, on January 21, High Court announced that they will be upholding the verdict of the Criminal Court. The case was later appealed to the Supreme Court by Yameen’s defense team.

Former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom is currently under house arrest at his official residence in the capital city Malé after being transferred out of Maafushi Jail due to the Covid-19 pandemic.