AP NEWS

Maldives opposition slams guilty verdict on former president

December 1, 2019
FILE- In this Feb. 3, 2018, file photo, Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, center, surrounded by his body guards arrives to address his supporters in Male, Maldives. Two opposition parties in the Maldives say the trial in which former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom was convicted of money laundering was politically motivated. Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty on Thursday. The five-member Criminal Court bench also ordered him to pay a $5 million fine. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan, File)
FILE- In this Feb. 3, 2018, file photo, Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, center, surrounded by his body guards arrives to address his supporters in Male, Maldives. Two opposition parties in the Maldives say the trial in which former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom was convicted of money laundering was politically motivated. Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty on Thursday. The five-member Criminal Court bench also ordered him to pay a $5 million fine. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan, File)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Two opposition parties in the Maldives say the trial in which former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom was convicted of money laundering was politically motivated.

The opposition coalition of the Progressive Party of Maldives and the People’s National Congress said in a statement Saturday that Yameen was given an unjust sentence due to his “economic development success.”

Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty on Thursday. The five-member Criminal Court bench also ordered him to pay a $5 million fine.

In its ruling, the court found Yameen guilty of laundering $1 million in state money for personal gain during his presidency.

The two opposition parties have appealed the case to the High Court.

Abdul Raheem, Vice President of the People’s National Congress, called for the coalition’s supporters to “peacefully oppose” the government, saying it was “incapable” and has “brought heavy financial burden on the people” of the Maldives.

Raheem also said that Yameen was transferred to Maafushi Prison after demonstrations on Friday. Yameen’s lawyers had expressed concern over the condition of his jail cell at Male Prison, where he was detained earlier.

Yameen led the Indian Ocean archipelago nation from 2013 to 2018. During that time, he was accused of corruption, muzzling the media and persecuting political opponents.

He lost last year’s election to current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.