Jailed ex-pres brought to capital for treatment

Jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom was brought to capital Male' on Wednesday to undergo medical treatment.

Both Maldives Corrections Services and the former president's party Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) confirmed the reports. It is believed that President Yameen was brought to state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) to undergo some tests.

While 81 days have passed since President Yameen was jailed on money laundering charges, he spoke of his current medical condition during his appeal hearing held recently.

Speaking at the hearing challenging Criminal Court's money-laundering verdict against him, the former president said he developed mental and cardiac issues within the first month he was imprisoned for investigation.

After he was released, he consulted at state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH)'s the cardiac centre, and the most senior doctor at the centre had advised him to seek medical care abroad, said Yameen. Neither the tests nor the treatment for his specific condition can be obtained in the Maldives, he added.

President Yameen further revealed that he suffers from a spinal disc herniation and requires surgery to correct the issue. He then expressed his wish to undergo surgery abroad.

The former president said he sought medical consultation periodically during the nine months of his money laundering trial after he was released from state custody. However, he is now unable to seek consultation, said Yameen, adding that he did not travel abroad during his trial as people may perceive that he was fleeing.

He appealed to the High Court to delay the serving of his sentence, and release him on bail so that he may seek the required treatment for his medical conditions. The request has since been denied by the High Court.

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.

Finding him guilty of the charges levied against him, 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, and the appeal trial is currently ongoing.