Gayoom's lawmaker son freed on bail

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon was released by the country's first appellate court on Monday minutes after freeing his jailed father.

The Dhiggaru lawmaker was sentenced to four months and 24 days after the criminal court in June found him guilty of impersonation for using the ruling party logo and flag during a press conference last year after he was expelled from the party.

Gayoom eldest son had been remanded after being arrested under the state of emergency accused of a plot to overthrow the government following the Supreme Court order on February 1.

The lawmaker is also on trial charged with bribing fellow lawmakers to back an opposition led no-confidence motion against parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

Faris' lawyers had filed the appeal in July arguing that he had been convicted in violation of the constitution and criminal procedure code.

The country's High Court on Monday granted bail and released Faris until it reaches a verdict on the appeal.

Faris has been at the forefront of the ongoing government crackdown on the opposition after he spearheaded a move to unseat the parliament speaker last year. Former president Gayoom's eldest son had spent six months in pre-trial detention after he was charged with bribing fellow lawmakers to back the opposition led censure motion against the speaker.

The MP however was released before the Supreme Court's order on February 1 to release nine political opponents that had included the lawmaker moments before his uncle declared a state of emergency.

Less than two days after he was released, police again took him into custody accusing him of plotting to overthrow the government.

Faris joins in father and former strongman Gayoom in prison who has also been charged with terrorism over the alleged coup plot but the trial is currently underway.

However, Gayoom along with two top court judges have been convicted of obstruction justice and sentenced to one year seven months and six days in prison.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

The High Court's decision came in the wake of the opposition alliance victory in last Sunday's presidential elections.

As many as nine politicians including Gayoom was brought to the capital from the main prison in Maafushi island to be produced in court last Monday.

However, the court freed South Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan, Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed Gayoom's son-in-law Ahmed Nadeem and former police chief Ahmed Areef who had been in remand until the end of their trials. The four had been charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government following the landmark Supreme Court ruling in February.

The court refused to rule on the custodial detention of Gayoom, his lawmaker son, Faris Maumoon, former chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed pointing out that they had all been jailed on criminal convictions.

The Criminal Court has already released Jumhoory Party deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz earlier Monday before releasing opposition lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof a day after.

Elections Commission on Sunday announced the official results which confirmed opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the seventh president of the archipelago with a staggering 58.4 percent of the votes.

Solih had been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party leader and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.