Appeal filed challenging ex-pres' money laundering verdict

An appeal has been filed at the High Court on behalf of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom seeking to overturn the Criminal Court ruling that sentenced him to five years in jail for money laundering.

Speaking at a press conference held by the opposing PPM-PNC coalition on Saturday, PNC's President Abdul Raheem Abdulla said the appeal has been filed at the High Court by President Yameen's legal team. A request has also been made to release the former president from prison and to delay serving of his sentence.

"At every press conference, we are reiterating that the verdict pronounced on President Yameen was politically influenced. Therefore, we have submitted an appeal challenging the verdict", said Abdul Raheem.

President Yameen was transferred to Maafushi Prison from Male' Prison to serve his sentence on Saturday afternoon. Representatives from Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) met with the former president earlier the same day over complaints received by the commission regarding the conditions of the jail he was being held at.

Criminal Court on Thursday found Yameen guilty of money laundering and sentenced him to five years in jail, ordering him to pay the state an amount of US$ 5 million within six months.

He was accused of defying the agreement between himself and the Anti-Corruption Commission, which stipulated the former president to move funds in his Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account that are suspected of having been laundered, into an escrow account set up between the two parties. Failing to do so, and moving the funds in question into an investment account, the former president deposited funds from another source into the escrow account.