International community concerned regarding ex-pres' verdict: PPM

Opposition coalition has revealed that the international community is deeply concerned regarding the five-year jail sentence handed to former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom for money laundering.

Former President Yameen was convicted on money laundering charges on November 28.

Two cheques worth US$ one million were deposited into the personal account of the former president at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) by SOF Pvt Ltd, the main party involved in funnelling state funds in millions through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). 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.

The Criminal Court on November 28 sentenced the former president to five years in jail after finding him guilty of money laundering. President Yameen was also ordered to pay US$ 5 million to the state within six months.

Speaking to the media on his arrival back in capital Male' after traveling to neighbouring Sri Lanka to share the coalition's concerns on President Yameen's arrest with the international community, former Economic Minister and Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed said many do not believe President Yameen's conviction was just.

While the opposition met with several representatives of foreign missions during their two-day trip to Sri Lanka, they informed the parties that the verdict against President Yameen was politically motivated and unfair, said Saeed. The missions also expressed their concern on the verdict, noted Saeed.

"They [the international community] are also aware that there are concerning matters in [former president Yameen's trial]. Many have expressed disapproval on how the trial was carried out. After the verdict was delivered, President Yameen was taken to a very confined cell in Male' Prison. As you know, we have already shared the fact with you during a previous press conference. Even the toilet does not flush", said Saeed.

Saeed said the opposition will continue to relay information on the current government's activities to the international community, and that they will not back down despite any challenges faced.

Speaking at the press conference, Naifaru MP and Vice President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Ahmed Shiyam said the government's treatment of President Yameen following his conviction are being relayed to foreign missions.

President Yameen is being held in violation of international policies and the Maldivian Constitution, claimed Shiyam.

"President Yameen, who was a former president of the country, is being held in jail against the international treaties that the country follows, and against the constitution of Maldives. The government is holding President Yameen under arrest unlawfully", said Shiyam.

Senior members of foreign missions the opposition met with are also concerned regarding the verdict of the trial, he said.

"Several missions are concerned over President Yameen's arrest. They are monitoring how President Yameen is being treated from day one. International organizations are also closely monitoring the situation," Shiyam added.

Heavily criticizing the government, Shiyam said the current government is the most tyrant and unjust administration in the country's history.