Jailed JP leader Gasim granted bail

Maldives' first appellate court on Monday granted bail to self-exiled opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim.

The business tycoon who now lives in self imposed exile in Germany after he was convicted of bribery and sentenced to over three years in prison in August last year.

Gasim was granted medical leave to travel to Singapore where he had undergone a minor heart surgery last September before travelling to Germany.

Despite his leave expiring in late September, the former lawmaker had not returned initially claiming that no airline would allow him on board an air craft due to his ailing condition.

The court had sentenced the Maamigili lawmaker in absentia as his lawyers had also refused to attend the hearing and even make the closing argument.

Gasim had been convicted after the court found him guilty of attempting to bribe fellow lawmakers to back the opposition led censure motion to unseat parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh in March last year.

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

The High Court had also freed jailed former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his lawmaker son Faris Maumoon minutes earlier.

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.