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State: no legal provision to delay Yameen's prison sentence and fine

Lamya Abdulla
10 August 2023, MVT 18:29
Former President Abdulla Yameen during the Supreme Court hearing held on August 10, 2023 --
Lamya Abdulla
10 August 2023, MVT 18:29

The state conveyed to the During the High Court Trial on Thursday, the state said that there exists no legal means to postpone the enforcement of the prison sentence and fine that were imposed on former President Abdulla Yameen.

Yameen's legal defense had submitted a case to the High Court, seeking a postponement of the 11-year prison sentence and USD 5 million fine that were imposed on him following his conviction for bribery and money laundering over the lease of Vaavu atoll Aarah during his administration.

During the hearing at the High Court, the state argued that the current legal framework in the country does not have provisions to issue a stay order on the implementation of a prison sentence and fine. The state pointed out that this stance aligns with the Supreme Court's previous ruling on Yameen's earlier prison term. As a result, the state requested the court to declare that there is no legal basis for issuing an order to postpone the prison sentence and fine.

In response to the bench's inquiry about whether the Supreme Court had previously deferred the penalty imposed on Yameen's case while it was ongoing in the Supreme Court, prosecutors said that a deferring order had indeed been issued at that time. However, they emphasized that such an order could not be passed again this time, in accordance with the court's previous verdict in that case.

Yameen's lawyer and former Vice President Mohamed Jameel argued that the interpretation of the Supreme Court's ruling was being influenced by the state's preferences. Jameel pointed out that in 2018, the Supreme Court had decided to postpone the prison sentence of Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, and this decision has not been altered by the court since then. Jameel further noted that even if formal orders are not issued, the state has previously taken independent actions to transfer individuals to house arrest.

Jameel emphasized that Yameen's prison term and fine were the result of serious errors committed by the lower court. He argued that if the execution of the sentence is not postponed, it would cause significant hardship and suffering for Yameen.

The ongoing hearings for the case are being conducted in the High Court. The panel of judges presiding over the case includes Justice Mohamed Saleem, Justice Hassan Shafiu, and Justice Huzaifa Mohamed, with Justice Saleem leading the bench.

Yameen's prison sentence and fine have resulted in his disqualification to participate in the upcoming presidential election. Despite appealing the matter before the Supreme Court on his behalf, the court held that his eligibility was not met.

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