Opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has requested online hearings in an appeal lodged by him at the High Court citing health issues.
Yameen, who was convicted of money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development, is presently serving an 11-year prison sentence in connection. He is placed at a special unit in Maafushi Prison. He was also slapped with a USD 5 million fine in the case.
As he serves the 11-year prison sentence – another trial against Yameen has been initiated after being charged with money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of R. Fuggiri for resort development. Discontent with Criminal Court’s decision on pretrial motions in Fuggiri case and his prison sentence and fine payment Aarah case – Yameen had made appeals to the High Court.
While a total of three appeals has been lodged with the High Court by Yameen – the preliminary hearing in one of the appeals, the Fuggiri case, was held on Tuesday.
During the hearing, Yameen’s lawyer Abdulla Siyaaz requested the next hearing be held online on behalf of his client.
“It would be easy if the next hearing is held online. As the appellant resides in another island, there are also difficulties in traveling due to health issues,” he said.
No decision was made regarding the defense’s request at today’s hearing. The presiding bench had not announced when the next hearing will be held either.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2023 prompted a regulation that allowed courts to hold online hearings in light of the lockdown. Subsequently, online courtrooms have been established as detention facilities.
While Yameen physically attended the hearing at High Court on Tuesday – top officials from the opposition coalition also attended the hearing. They include the acting leader of the coalition, PNC’s leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla, Male’ City Council’s Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and several opposition parliamentarians.
Following the conclusion of the hearing, the officials were granted a few minutes to interact and talk with Yameen.