President Mohammed Muizzu (M), Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan (L) and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) President Hisaan Hussain (R) at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Judicial Year. Photo/President's Office

Maldives Pres hopes for Yameen's exoneration ahead of appeal verdict

"I dearly hope he will be freed tomorrow. After that, we will finally see all the former presidents of Maldives, all of them able to live their lives freely”.

18 April 2024

By Shahudha Mohamed

President Mohammed Muizzu has accused the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of delaying the appeal hearings of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is serving his sentence in a money laundering case. He said he personally wanted Yameen to be released today.

The President made the remarks while speaking at an event titled 'Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll Event' in Male last evening to campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

He said that there will be no government influence over the judiciary since he took office. He said the JSC is now controlled by the opposition MDP.

"The JSC Chairman is also an MDP member. The Speaker of Parliament is an MDP member. He sits in the JSC as the Speaker of Parliament. And there will also be a [MDP] member of Parliament in the JSC," he said.

The MDP's power over the JSC is being exploited by the opposition, he said, as evidenced by the progress of Yameen's trial. The President noted that:

  • The Speaker had recently said that Yameen’s case is being delayed and he himself will refer it to the JSC

  • A few days after he said that, the verdict on Yameen's appeal is now scheduled for Thursday

"Haven’t they been holding it off all this time then? They can schedule when they want to," he said, adding that he had previously called on the judiciary to conclude Yameen's trial as soon as possible.

"... I condemn the MDP's influence in the judiciary through the JSC to date”.

President Muizzu believes that the judiciary can be liberated from the influence of the JSC by reconstituting the judicial watchdog so that politically elected officials cannot sit on the commission. He has also promised to change the law accordingly.

The President also said he was pleased that the hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

"My prayer is that President Yameen will be released as we have always advocated. I have been informed that the trial will be held tomorrow [Thursday]," he said.

"I dearly hope he will be freed tomorrow [Thursday]. After that, we will finally see all the former presidents of Maldives, all of them able to live their lives freely”.