The opposition coalition conveyed concerns over the jail sentence of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to ambassadors of several foreign nations.
On November 28, the Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to five years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of USD 5 million over money laundering, allotting a six-month period for payment.
People's National Congress (PNC) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) refused to accept the verdict and appealed the court's ruling on Sunday.
According to local media outlet Mihaaru, the opposition coalition sent letters to several foreign embassies which assert that Yameen's trial was politically influenced and that his sentence contradicted established judicial procedures and basic human rights.
The letters also highlighted that the former president's verdict was delivered at a time when the positions of Chief Justice and Prosecutor General were vacant. The Criminal Court's refusal to delay the announcement of Yameen's verdict as per requests by his lawyers, eliminated the possibility of the former president being released under bail.
Additionally, the opposition coalition also noted that Judge Ali Rasheed who presided over Yameen's trial made statements regarding the case to the media.
Stating that unjustly jailing the opposition leader was an impediment to democracy in Maldives, the opposition's letters requested that the government be encouraged to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights in the country.
The state charged former President Yameen with money laundering over a transaction of USD 1 million to his account in Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) by SOF Pvt Ltd. The private company is implicated in the MVR 3.3 billion embezzlement scandal of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), which is considered the largest corruption case recorded in Maldivian history.
While Yameen had agreed to transfer the USD 1 million to a joint escrow account at Bank of Maldives (BML), which was opened with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), it later surfaced that the money Yameen transferred to the account was not the USD 1 million he received from SOF. The funds from SOF were instead deposited in a general investment account at MIB.