Opposition shares concerns over ex-pres' trial with international media

Opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) coalition has shared their concerns over former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's money laundering trial with international media.

President Yameen's legal team and representatives from the opposition coalition are currently in neighboring Sri Lanka to share their concerns with the international community.

The delegation include the first Vice during President Yameen's rule, Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who is also part of President Yameen's legal team. PPM's Vice President and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam, Congress Party's Deputy President and Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed and Deputy President of Congress Party Ahmed Hassan are also part of the delegation.

The team on Friday met with international medias and shard their concerns on the challenges faced in ensuring a fair trial for President Yameen. The opposition said they will also be informing the international community on the current situation of the Maldives judiciary.

The presiding judge over President Yameen's money laundering trial, Ahmed Hailam was suspended last Tuesday mere hours ahead of a hearing during which a verdict was set to be delivered.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) suspended Hailam in a rushed move after a cartoon depicting President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed handcuffed and chained along with the perpetrators of the November 11, 1988 attack on Maldives was shared by Hailam to a Viber group of the Criminal Court's recreational club.

While Hailam has apologized for his actions and claimed he did not realise the president and the speaker were illustrated in the cartoon, he has released a statement alleging that top government officials contacted him directly and indirectly to ensure that the former president would receive a jail sentence. The opposition has called on authorities to investigate Hailam's claims that the government attempted to influence him since the beginning of President Yameen's trial.

A hearing has been scheduled for November 17 in the former president's money laundering trial. While President Yameen has requested for a bench to preside over the case, it is unclear how the Criminal Court will be moving forward with the case.