PPM Leads Nationwide Protests Demanding Release of Jailed Former President Yameen
Malé, Maldives - The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the nation's leading opposition party, staged a nationwide protest today, March 17, 2023, demanding the release of its presidential candidate and former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. This marks the second such protest since Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, in a highly politicized trial.
The trial, which saw Ahmed Shakeel, the chief judge of the criminal court, issue the verdict against Yameen, has been mired in controversy. Shortly after the sentencing, Shakeel was promoted to the High Court of the Maldives, raising suspicions among the opposition and the public. This is not the first time a judge has been promoted following the sentencing of the former president. In 2019, criminal court judge Ahmed Rasheed sentenced Yameen to five years in jail, and was subsequently promoted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court later acquitted Yameen of those charges in late 2021.
The PPM has criticized the sentencing and promotions as politically motivated, with today's nationwide protest emphasizing the party's determination to free its leader. The protests drew large crowds in cities across the Maldives, with demonstrators demanding a fair and unbiased judicial process for Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.