Concern over delay in issuing decision on ex-pres' bail request

The legal team of jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has expressed concern over the High Court's delay in making a decision on releasing the opposition leader under bail.

Lead counsel of President Yameen's legal team, former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed on Friday took to popular social network Twitter to relay a message by President Yameen.

In his tweet, Jameel said the former president is eligible for bail, similar to other people. While 1.5 months have passed since President Yameen requested to be released under bail, the delay in making a decision on the issue is concerning, wrote Jameel.

"A message from President Yameen: It is only fair that President Yameen is granted the opportunity to be released under bail, just like anybody else. While 1.5 months have passed, how is it fair that the court still hasn't reached a decision regarding bail? Ensure fundamental rights, true judicial reform is the assurance of human rights without delay," read the tweet.

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.

According to Yameen's supporters, the verdict delivered against their leader is injust. The opposing PPM-PNC coalition is currently gathering signatures for a petition calling for President Yameen's release. The petition will be sent to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, relevant government authorities and foreign organizations, said the coalition.