President Yameen arrives at the Criminal Court on December 25, 2022. Photo/Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Following verdict, opposition says Yameen innocent

Abdul Raheem called on opposition supporters in the islands to come to Male, ready to give up their last breath for President Yameen.

25 December 2022

By Shahudha Mohamed

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition has said on Sunday that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is innocent despite having been found guilty by the Criminal Court in the Aarah case.

Criminal Court ruled against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on charges of corruption in the lease deal:

  • Yameen was found guilty of accepting bribes and money laundering

  • The prosecution has proven Yameen guilty of accepting bribes beyond a reasonable doubt

Yameen is the candidate for the 2023 presidential elections on behalf of the opposition PPM-PNC coalition. The manner in which Yameen is sentenced in the case is likely to bring about a major political change.

Speaking at a press conference outside the Criminal Court after Yameen was found guilty of bribery and money laundering, opposition PNC leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla said Yameen was charged with a political charge. "The delay in today's trial beyond the scheduled time also proves that there is interference," Abdul Raheem said.

"The verdict we heard again shows why the trial scheduled for nine o'clock was delayed till 11.30 am. The verdict was changed the way India wanted it to. This is not a fair verdict. It's an unfair verdict. This is a ‘haram’ [forbidden] verdict. PPM-PNC coalition does not accept this," Abdul Raheem told reporters.

Abdul Raheem called on opposition supporters in the islands to come to Male, ready to give up their last breath for President Yameen.

"I want to tell those who want to make a place in the country's politics by putting President Yameen behind bars to forget about it. Forget about it. If President Yameen is put into prison even, he will be our candidate. No other candidate will have the support of the party," Abdul Raheem said.

Supporters of the opposition alliance and members holding key positions in both the parties continued to protest outside the criminal court premises during the trial. Security has been beefed up in the area and police personnel in riot gear have been deployed.

After Yameen's conviction and the police barricades remained in the middle, the opposition went on a "direct strike". The protesters marched out of the criminal court area to Majeedhee Magu, shouting slogans:

  • to set aside the 'haram judgment'

  • to ensure justice

A senate meeting of PPM-PNC will be convened to plan further activities after the march ends at the PPM office.

On November 24, 2021, the case was filed in the Criminal Court. In the case:

  • The state has alleged that $1 million deposited in Yameen's account by Former MP Yusuf Naeem's 2G Private Limited was identified as bribe

  • However, Yameen and Yusuf Naeem say the USD 1 million deal was a dollar-exchange transaction

  • The state says Yameen, who was then president, had no reason to raise so much dollars

  • The state has also sought that the state should recover the profits made by investing $1 million

  • The matter will be decided after a year 

  • Yameen has been charged with money laundering and accepting bribery; and Yusuf Naeem has been charged with offering bribery

  • The court held that all the charges were proved

After Yameen's conviction, the state proclaimed:

  • Yameen to be sentenced to eight years in prison for accepting bribes

  • After being found guilty of money laundering, the state sought a fine of five times the amount of money laundered and 11 years in jail for him

  • The state sought a total 19-year jail term for Yameen

Yameen and Yusuf Naeem have sought 10 days' time to hold the sentencing session. The judge, however, decided to hold the session to decide the quantum of punishment at 2 pm the same day.