Hearing scheduled for ex-pres' appeal

An appeal hearing for former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's money laundering case has been scheduled for Thursday.

The Criminal Court found President Yameen guilty of money-laundering on November 28 last year. The verdict was challenged at the High Court, and the first hearing of the appeal was held on January 28. At the hearing, the former president had requested the High Court to release him on bail.

President Yameen's legal team Tuesday said the High Court has informed that the second hearing of his appeal trial will be held Thursday morning. However, it is not clear which issue the hearing relates to.

Speaking at the initial appeal hearing, the former president had stated that he was the leader of the opposition, and that having been jailed had hindered the activities of the party as well as efforts to hold the current administration accountable. He further stated that the party is facing challenges in preparing for the upcoming local council election as a result of his conviction, and requested the High Court to release him on bail, and to delay the serving his sentence.

Although the defense asserted that bail was a constitutional right, the state had stated that it does not apply for convicted felons.

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.

The Criminal Court sentenced the former president to five years in jail and ordered him to pay US$ five million to the state after being found guilty of money laundering on November 28 last year. The high-profile trial was televised live on local channels.