High court overturns ex-President Gayoom’s jail term

Update 19 October 2018

The Maldives High Court on Thursday overturned the jail sentence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as there was “violation of procedure” during his trial. The court also restored Gayoom’s license to practice law and preach Islam.

Gayoom was sentenced to one year and seven months in prison for obstruction of justice because he refused to hand over his mobile phone during a police investigation. He was freed on bail after the he presidential election victory of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Indiatvnews reported.

Opposition in the Maldives asked the police to bar President Abdulla Yameen from leaving the country. Ibrahim Muaz Ali, spokesperson for Yameen, said that the president would not flee but would cooperate with any investigation. Al Jazeera reported.

18 October 2018

Ahead of an imminent verdict on his legal challenge seeking to annul last month’s presidential election, Abdulla Yameen, made an impromptu address to the nation on live television which sounded very much like a farewell speech. In his 15 minutes speech, he effectively admitted defeat and told the nation that he failed to understand the thinking of the Maldivian people during his tenure. His address suggests that he had now lost hope of annulling the election. He might have heard privately from the judges.

Yameen urged the public to consider his accomplishments in solving longstanding problems, improving healthcare and education, and strengthening the economy. Reuters reported.

During his tenure several high-profile figures were jailed or exiled. They included two former presidents, two Supreme Court justices, two vice presidents, two defence ministers, leaders of opposition parties, several lawmakers, and the country’s chief prosecutor.

The whole world including by the United States, China, India, and the European Union has accepted election results.

In the meantime, the Anti-Corruption Commission has come to know that the state-owned Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has funded President Abdulla Yameen’s re-election campaign. An internal audit of the company has so far revealed US$1.9 million was spent for the campaign. Auditor General Hassan Ziyath has also ordered an audit of the HDC’s finances. Media also reported that some 150 employees of HDC worked on the election campaign.