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Yameen sentenced to 11 years in prison, fined USD 5 million

Malika Shahid
25 December 2022, MVT 22:16
Former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom being taken to Maafushi Prison -- Photo: Nishan Ali
Malika Shahid
25 December 2022, MVT 22:16

Criminal Court has sentenced former President Abdulla Yameen has to 11 years in prison and a fine USD 5 million.

As long as the conviction of accepting bribes and money laundering through the lease transaction of Vaavu atoll Aarah remains in force, opposition leader Yameen will lose his chance to contest in the 2023 presidential election.

The prosecution had asked for a 19 year prison sentence; of which eight years are for bribery charges and 11 years for money laundering with a fine of USD 5 million.

However, Chief Judge Ahmed Shakeel sentenced him to four years in jail for bribery and seven years for money laundering.

Judge Shakeel said although the basic punishment for bribery offense is three years and two months imprisonment, the level of punishment should be made more severe as Yameen committed the offense while serving as President of Maldives for which people have consequently suffered losses.

Under the Money Laundering Act, offenses are punishable by five to 15 years in prison. Due to the nature of the crime, the Chief Judge imposed a seven year prison sentence and a fine of USD 5 million which is to be paid within six months.

Former Felidhoo MP Yousuf Naeem was sentenced to three years, two months and 12 days in prison. He asked for a commutation of the sentence based on his criminal record, health and living conditions.

However, the Chief Judge ruled that Yousuf Naeem's sentence could not be reduced because he had committed a premeditated crime with a former President of Maldives.

Yameen did not comment on his sentence as the sentence hearing had not been postponed, according to his lawyers.

Lawyers to appeal sentence

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Yameen's legal team led by former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed said he would appeal the Criminal Courts sentence without delay and was confident that the Court of Appeal rule in their favor.

Earlier, the Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to five years in prison in 2019 in the Gaaf Alifu atoll Vodamulaa lease case. The Supreme Court had quashed the sentence last year and had released him.