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Prison did not change my political convictions: former President Yameen

"Jailing me has not changed my political convictions, it has not affected my principles. I remain strongly committed," Yameen asserted.

Mariyath Mohamed
18 April 2024, MVT 20:49
Mariyath Mohamed
18 April 2024, MVT 20:49

After the High Court ordered a retrial for former President Abdulla Yameen, he walked out of the courts a free man and shared his sentiments with the media gathered at the location.

Yameen emphasized concerns surrounding impartiality and competency of the investigations conducted by the Police, insinuating that the investigation into the cases against him were shadowed with political intent.

He asserted that if the system were more robust, those caught up in trials would be granted justice at a much faster pace.

Although he plans to immediately begin political activity with his newly formed party People's National Front, with a campaign trip to a major population hub already planned for tomorrow, Yameen remains cautious, saying that although currently free, with the retrials in front of him, he remains 'tethered to the courts' and hence, it is too early to speak of political ambitions for future years.

With a journalist asking if he had intentions of contesting in the next presidential elections, slated to be in 2028, Yameen declined from giving a direct response, saying he first has to deal with the court processes in front of him.

"By God's Grace, I lack for nothing. I have my wealth and my health. I have no reasons to run after the government or a position for personal gain or benefit. I have a much more content life than that, by God's Grace. I will not lose any sleep over not getting a presidency. What I will, however, lose sleep over is when certain values that I have always upheld, certain principles that are vital for the Maldives' independence, are being compromised, as it is now," the former President said.

The former President touched upon strained ties between himself and President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, recalling unanswered phone calls and text messages on the day of the presidential election win.

"Only God knows how and to what extent a person will change when they are given access to unfettered power. That is one thing you must keep in mind. The other thing you must consider is, that in these times of education and learning, the President considers Abdul Raheem as a role model. These two things say enough," Yameen criticized his former party colleagues.

"I do not have anything against President Muizzu personally. However, there are things I will not tolerate, that I did not allow for even in my five years [of presidency]," he said.

"Jailing me has not changed my political convictions, it has not affected my principles. I remain strongly committed," Yameen asserted.

Stating that the current government had campaigned for presidency with a strong "India Out" movement, he questioned where those sentiments were now.

"The independence of Maldives. Running the country to the whim of foreign powers. Losing a part of our seas. These are things that I lose sleep over. These are being compromised, and I will take issue with that," he asserted.

Yameen said that with just about 48 hours being available to him to engage in campaign activities, he intends to use the time as effectively as possible.

He appealed to the media to educate people to consider each candidate vying for parliamentary seats separately, judging if they are likely to floorcross, if they will abuse the power of their seats for personal gain, if they are capable, educated, and other such factors.

Yameen called on his supporters to 'not even look at another candidate without voting for the candidates we present first'.

He thanked his supporters for standing by him during the trial, appeal and the surrounding events.

High Court overturned Criminal Court's earlier verdict sentencing former President Abdulla Yameen to 11 years in prison over money laundering and bribery charges in relation to the lease of Vaavu atoll Aarah, and ordered a retrial.

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