EC decision to reject Yameen's candidacy correct: AG Office

The Attorney General's (AG) Office has said that the Election Commission's decision to reject former President and PPM presidential candidate, Abdulla Yameen's candidacy was correct.

Yameen filed his candidacy papers to contest the presidential election on August 1. However, EC, on the same day, decided against accepting Yameen's candidacy, citing that he did not meet the requirements of Article 109(f) of the Constitution, leading to a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

Article 109 of the Constitution stipulates that an individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to a prison term exceeding 12 months is ineligible to participate in the presidential election unless three years have passed following the completion or granting of a pardon for the sentence.

While the AG has intervened in the case, Fathimath Haleem, representing the Attorney General's Office, said at a Supreme Court hearing held Friday that President Yameen is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence following a lower court judgment. Although the verdict has been appealed at a higher court, the lower court's judgment remains in effect, she said, affirming the correctness of the commission's decision.

In response to AG's statement, the Supreme Court bench inquired whether other nations consider an individual as having a clean record until all stages of appeal are concluded. Responding to this, the state prosecutor said that in the Maldives, this provision applies solely to Hadd and Qisas cases.

Fatimath Haleem added that there is no provision in the Constitution that outlines a scenario where a person serving a sentence is elected as the President. This is predicated on the understanding that an individual serving a sentence cannot fulfill the eligibility criteria for the presidential position, she said.