Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has openly criticised President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu, following the latter’s plea to supporters to refrain from public protests demanding Yameen’s release. 

Yameen, currently serving an 11-year sentence for his involvement in the MMPRC corruption scandal, told his followers not to hesitate in taking to the streets to advocate for his freedom.

President-elect Muizzu, who won the recent elections against incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih with a margin of over 7%, has been vocal about his intentions to secure Yameen’s release. Muizzu specifically asked supporters to give him until November 17th to handle Yameen’s case “within the rules” and in a “diplomatic way”. 

However, Yameen questioned the efficacy of such an approach in his recent remarks.

“It’s not just when you get positions, that you dare to make claims,” Yameen said. “The people should not hesitate to come out onto the streets when the leader who did the greatest work for the country is arrested.”

Yameen took an implicit swipe at the leadership of the PPM-PNC alliance, of which Muizzu is a part. He asked his supporters to question them on why they were not publicly advocating for his release. “At most they’re going to send me back to jail, right? I’ve decided that it’s my second home now,” Yameen added defiantly.

Yameen also questioned why he hadn’t been granted bail, unlike other politicians facing sentences. He assured supporters that his innocence would become apparent following court proceedings and expressed disdain at the incumbent government’s alleged corruption, urging the incoming government to initiate investigations.

While Yameen did say that his “biggest joy is the end of this government”, he did not discount the possibility of returning to politics.