Ex-pres does not wish to seek treatment abroad: Home Minister

Jailed former president of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom does not wish to travel abroad for medical treatment, the Home Minister revealed on Sunday.

Speaking on local channel Sangu TV on Sunday night, Home Minister Imran Abdulla said he wishes to maker arrangements for the former president's medical treatment as per the advice given by his doctors. Discussions have been carried out with the former president several times regarding making arrangements accordingly, said the minister.

However, President Yameen does not wish to travel abroad at this time, revealed Minister Imran.

"It is my wish that President Yameen receives treatment as per the written advice of his doctors. However, he does not wish to travel abroad at this time. We have discussed this with the former president on multiple occasions. When President Yameen's family requests to make the necessary arrangements, we will accommodate their request," the minister said.

Minister Imran said several special arrangements have already been made for the former president at Maafushi Prison, and that the jail conditions have improved significantly over the last 1.5 years. Acknowledging that further improvements are being made, daily updates are sought from the Commissioner of Prisons on the matter, said the minister.

Speaking at the hearing challenging the 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.