Lawyers meet with ex-pres to discuss appeal

Lawyers representing jailed former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has called on Home Minister Imran Abdulla to transfer President Yameen under house arrest.

Stating that while the biggest perpetrators behind corruption are currently under house arrest, the lawyers said President Yameen must be transferred to home arrest at the earliest.

Their statement was in reference to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor and former Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Abdulla Ziyath.

Yameen is currently being held at Maafushi Prison where he is serving his five year sentence for money laundering. The former president's legal team visited him at Maafushi Prison for the first time on Sunday to discuss his appeal.

Speaking to the press regarding the meeting, lead counsel Dr. Mohamed Jameel said Yameen's lawyers were able to meet with him and discuss the appeal. The appeal challenging the Criminal Court's verdict was filed at the High Court on Saturday.

Jameel said the verdict that found Yameen guilty of money laundering was incorrect and that a request will be made to the Home Minister to transfer President Yameen to house arrest.

"Both Adeeb and Ziyath, who were behind the corruption are being held under house arrest,'' said Jameel.

Both Adeeb and Ziyath testified against the former president in his money laundering trial. While the defense requested not to consider the witness statements of both individuals, the court made the decision to accept their witness statement as there were several documentary evidence that corroborated their statements.

The 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.