The High Court has granted former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s request for the postponement of a US$5 million fine that had been imposed on him but refused to defer his 11-year jail sentence.

The three-judge bench made decision during a hearing held today, stating that while authorities should refrain from enforcing the US$5 million fine, they could not grant a deferral of Yameen’s 11-year prison term. This judgment is rooted in a precedent set by the Supreme Court, which had earlier ruled that judgments in criminal cases cannot be postponed under any circumstances. The court emphasised that allowing such postponements could potentially be an abuse of the legal procedure.

Yameen, who is currently serving his 11-year prison sentence for convictions related to bribery and money laundering associated with the lease of Aarah in Vaavu Atoll, petitioned the High Court earlier this week. His legal team had advocated for a deferral of both the prison sentence and the US$5 million fine.

However, the prosecution countered this stance, pointing to the previous ruling by the Supreme Court that highlighted the lack of explicit legal provisions for stay orders on delaying sentences for criminal convictions within the Maldivian criminal justice framework. This absence of clear procedures for stay orders formed the basis of the Prosecutor General’s argument against granting Yameen’s requested postponement.

Yameen’s legal team, in response, pursued an alternative approach. They submitted their appeal through a civil stay order application at the High Court, maintaining that despite the lack of specific guidelines, this avenue of action remained a viable legal recourse.