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Yoosuf Naeem's prison sentence overturned, retrial ordered

Malika Shahid
18 April 2024, MVT 16:19
Yoosuf Naeem: High court overturns three year prison sentence and orders for retrial
Malika Shahid
18 April 2024, MVT 16:19

The High Court has overturned the three-year prison sentence of former Felidhoo MP Yoosuf Naeem for bribery charges related to the lease of Vaavu atoll Aarah.

Former President Abdulla Yameen was convicted of money laundering and graft in the Vaavu atoll Aarah lease case for which the Criminal Court sentenced him to 11 years in prison with a fine of USD 5 million. Additionally, former Felidhoo MP Yoosuf Naeem was convicted in the same case for bribery, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.

Both of the cases were appealed at the first appellate court.

According to the verdict, under the Penal Code, a bribe is defined as the provision of an unauthorized benefit to a public servant in an official capacity. However, the lower court did not clarify whether the lease of islands falls within the official capacity of the President. Therefore, it is not evident that Yoosuf Naeem knew on reasonable grounds that the USD 1 million paid to the former President constituted an unauthorized benefit, the verdict said.

The verdict stated that the decision to admit the new evidence was incorrect, as the prosecution had submitted new evidence to contradict the defense evidence. It noted that the evidence was presented through a procedure that is not in accordance with the law. Furthermore, the verdict highlighted that no valid reason was provided for admitting the evidence.

"We don't believe that justice has been served because of this action. Justices Hassan Shafeeu and Huzaifa Mohamed coincided.

The verdict also added that the lower court had not been able to prove that the lease of the island through MMPRC was related to Yameen's official capacity.

The verdict stated that the lower court did not provide adequate time to discuss the case before imposing a sentence. Additionally, it added that the lower court unlawfully refused to impose a non-jail sentence upon Yoosuf Naeem's request.

The High Court ruled that the sentence on Yoosuf Naeem was against the law. The verdict stated that there were additional matters to consider in the case and ruled for a retrial.

The judges bench of the High Court presiding over the case include Justices Hassan Shafeeu, Huzaifa Mohamed and Mohamed Saleem with Shafeeu presiding over the bench.

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