Supreme Court decides against releasing ex-pres on bail

The Supreme Court has decided against releasing former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom on bail.

Yameen is currently serving a five-year sentence after being found guilty of laundering in November 2018. He was also ordered to pay USD 5 million to the state over six months. The Criminal Court's verdict was upheld by the High Court, and the matter is now being appealed at the Supreme Court. The appeal proceedings are currently ongoing at the top court.

The defense has requested to release the former president on bail, and a stay order on executing his sentence handed by the Criminal Court.

In Tueday's hearing, Supreme Court Judge Mahaz Ali Zahir said the Supreme Court has the authority release a detained or arrested person on bail. However, no law in the Maldives allows a convicted individual to be released on bail, the judge said.

The court also said a stay order cannot be issued to delay serving Yameen's sentence. However, the court issued a stay order on the payment of the USD 5 million fine. It also decided against accepting two witnesses produced by the defence, former Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail and former Hulhudhoo MP Mohamed Shahid, citing that they could have been presented as witnesses during the Criminal Court proceedings.

Both the state and the defense will be giving their closing statements on Tuesday. The case is expected to conclude soon.