Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom told the High Court on Wednesday that he chose to exercise his right to remain silent during the investigation against him, after facing harassment from the police.
Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison and slapped with a USD 5 million fine on December 25, 2022, after he was found guilty of money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.
The appeal hearing on Wednesday saw the opposition leader make a statement defending himself.
Yameen said the police had conducted the investigation into the Aarah case and the Fuggiri case simultaneously, while he had been in prison in connection to the Vodamulla case – a conviction that was later overturned by the Supreme Court.
“They brought me different versions of my statement about five or six times. I kept telling the police that it constituted harassment. This is there on all police logs,” he said.
Yameen said he told the police he would answer their questions in court.
“This is what they did. It is there in recordings and call logs. I said I wasn’t exercising my right to remain silent. After the harassment escalated, its also there on the police report, all my lawyers resigned together,” he said.
Yameen said that after his top lawyers resigned, he had to replacements.
He said the chose to exercise his right to remain silent back them because of police harassment.
Yameen alleged the police carried out deliberate moves to achieve a specific objective, which resulted in him and his legal team facing huge difficulties.
“It got so hard for me. They straight-out harassed me. All my lawyers walked out in unison. This was a hard case that was tampered with,” he said.
“I exercised my right to remain silent after they continued to persistently harass me during the second phase.”