'Ex-pres in jail due to Pres Solih's influence' - Opposition

The opposition has claimed that former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom is being held in prison due to the influence of current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s Deputy President Ahmed Shiyam on Wednesday said while speaking at a rally that an unjust verdict was delivered against the party's leader and that the verdict was 'influenced'.

The former president was jailed on money laundering charges not only on the decision of the presiding judges but also due to the president's influence, alleged Shiyam.

"President Yameen is in jail today due to the influence exerted by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The decision was made not only by the judges in the court. We saw before our eyes the judges in the courts being influenced during different stages [of the trial]. The citizens of the nation are questioning the investigation conducted on President Yameen, and they are convinced that the charges against President Yameen are false," said the Naifaru MP.

Former President Yameen 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. Criminal Court on November 28, 2019 found Yameen guilty of money laundering and sentenced him to five years imprisonment, ordering him to pay the state an amount of US$ 5 million within six months.

While the Criminal Court verdict has been appealed at the High Court, the former president's legal team has requested the High Court to release President Yameen on bail until the court reaches a decision on the appeal. No decisions have been made by the High Court thus far.

MP Shiyam has previously accused that the courts are highly influenced by the government through the President's Office. Shiyam added that while the people behind such actions are clear, the judges will not be allowed to get away with such unjust acts, said Shiyam.