Yameen seeks stay of execution order for Aarah sentence

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom waves to supporters from his residence. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Opposition leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has sought a stay of execution order from High Court for the Criminal Court verdict sentencing him to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery charges.

Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, after finding him guilty of money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development. He also received a fine of USD 5 million.

While Yameen has appealed the verdict to High Court, he has previously submitted a letter to the appellate court requesting a stay of execution order.

The court, back then replied, by stating the request had not come through the correct procedure.

High Court’s Spokesperson told Sun on Monday night that Yameen’s lawyers filed for a stay of execution order sometime last night, in accordance with the correct procedure.

Despite his imprisonment, Yameen submitted his candidacy for the September 9 presidential election as PPM’s presidential candidate, last week.

The Elections Commission (EC) rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction, citing Article 109 (f) of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.

EC rejected Yameen’s candidacy based on two main factors; his criminal conviction, and his failure to settle the fine he was ordered to pay as part of his sentence.

He contested the decision with the Supreme Court, which ruled on Sunday that the EC was right to declare the opposition leader ineligible to contest the election. The Supreme Court, in their verdict, also said Yameen had a proven debt.

Yameen was ordered by the Criminal Court to settle the fine by the end of June. Following his failure to do so, the Attorney General’s Office has filed a Civil Court case to recover the money.

Meanwhile, Yameen’s High Court appeal of the Criminal Court’s verdict remains just ahead of the verdict as one of the judges presiding over the appeal is on leave.

The stay of execution order has been requested at a time Yameen’s legal team has raised complaints about difficulties in communicating with Yameen regarding the opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s decisions.