The High Court has yet again adjourned hearings on former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s appeal against bribery and money laundering convictions, which resulted in an 11-year prison sentence and a fine of US$5 million (MVR 77 million).

Hearings were suspended after a judge was said to have taken leave. While the High Court has granted a stay on the enforcement of the US$5 million fine pending the appeal, Yameen’s prison sentence remains in effect. However, the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) transferred the former president home on October 1.

Yameen filed his appeal against the Criminal Court’s verdict in February, but the hearings have faced consistent delays due to a judge’s leave and multiple requests for postponement from the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO).

The leadership of the PPM and People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition, along with Yameen’s lawyers, have repeatedly urged the High Court to expedite the appeal process.

“The information we get from the lawyers is that we don’t know when the trial will start after the judge’s leave. This is very concerning,” a senior PPM source was quoted as saying by local media. The prosecutors have also played a role in the stalling of the trial, the official had said.

The appeal is being heard by a three-judge bench consisting of Judge Mohamed Saleem, Judge Hassan Shafiu, and Judge Huzaifa Mohamed.