The High Court has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in former President Abdulla Yameen’s appeal against bribery and money laundering convictions relating to the lease of Aarah, Vaavu Atoll,  his lead attorney Dr Mohamed Jameel has revealed.

Following a meeting with officials from the High Court, Jameel addressed the press, expressing his anticipation that the protracted appeal process would resume at the earliest, culminating in a swift verdict.

He noted that the delayed appeal had resulted in irreversible damages to Yameen as he was not able to contest in the upcoming presidential elections. 

Earlier this week, Yameen formally submitted a petition to the High Court, requesting the deferral of his 11-year prison sentence and a US$5 million fine associated with his conviction for bribery and money laundering.

Yameen’s plea for the suspension of his sentence was based on the High Court’s repeated failure to address his appeal despite multiple requests.

A senior official at the Prosecutor General’s office, commenting on the stay order, asserted that such directives are not a component of the Maldivian judicial system. They clarified that the concept is neither outlined in the Penal Code nor its subsequent regulations, nor is it addressed within established court procedures.

While Yameen’s legal team acknowledges the absence of formal procedures for such a stay order, they maintain the possibility of pursuing this avenue. They lodged the appeal with the High Court through a civil stay order application.

In a prior instance, the Supreme Court ruled that the Penal Code does not encompass provisions for stay orders intended to postpone convictions for criminal offences. The Court determined that such procedures are not delineated in any legal frameworks under the Maldivian criminal justice system.

This ruling was from an earlier appeal filed by Yameen himself, pertaining to his conviction in the Vodumulaa case. Although the jail sentence was not deferred, a stay order was issued regarding the fines.