Opposition holds demonstration in front of UN headquarters

Supporters of jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom held a demostration in front of the UN headquarters in capital Male' on Tuesday.

The protestors called for the release of their leader, who was sentenced to five years in jail for money laundering on November 28.

The supporters carried placcards that called for President Yameen's release, and accused the judiciary of being influenced by the government. The protestors sported black blindfolds over their eyes for the duration of the protest.

Deputy President of opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam said the PPM-PNC coalition rallied in front of the UN headquarters to inform the UN that President Yameen was jailed on a political conviction, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

The Criminal Court late last month 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 US$ 1 million 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 having moved the funds in question into an investment account, the former president deposited funds from another source into the escrow account.

The verdict has now been appealed at the High Court, although its proceedings have not yet been started by the court.

The opposition continues to protest the verdict every night by gathering in front of the PPM Office in capital Male'. The party has stated that they will not cease their protests until the former president is freed.