The jailed former Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was released on bail yesterday, a week after the country’s longest serving leader’s estranged half-brother was trounced at a presidential election.
Gayoom, 80, and his legislator son Faris Maumoon, were released by the High Court in Male in response to fresh appeals against their controversial convictions.
“Finally, they are all home,” Gayoom’s daughter Yumna Maumoon said on Twitter.
“Hope and pray that all political prisoners will be released soon. The nightmare is finally over Insha Allah. Thank you all who struggled hard for this day,” Maumoon said.
The release followed appeals from president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who urged incumbent Abdulla Yameen to free all political prisoners in the tourist paradise atoll nation after his stunning victory at the
September 23 election.
Gayoom had ruled the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims for 30 straight years till he was defeated at the country’s first
multi-party elections in 2008.
He supported Yameen to win a controversial run-off election in 2013, but they later fell out and became bitter foes.
Gayoom was arrested in February along with the country’s Chief Justice and another Supreme Court judge on a charge of attempting to topple Yameen. He declared a 45-day state of emergency to block
The country’s elder leader was serving a 19-month jail term for obstruction of justice and was also under trial on a “terrorism” charge when the High Court
ordered his release on bail.
Gayoom’s other daughter, former foreign minister Dunya Maumoon, also took to Twitter saying: “So happy you are finally home.”
The High Court released Gayoom on a bail of 60,000 rufiyaa ($3,900) and he was also ordered not to travel abroad
without its permission.
Another high profile Maldivian dissident, Qasim Ibrahim, was also granted bail. He, however, is not in the Maldives. He had obtained prison leave for medical treatment and has remained in Europe.
Almost all key opposition leaders and a number of ruling party dissidents have either been jailed or gone into exile in the Maldives in recent years
Soon after his defeat, Yameen freed five other political prisoners but was delaying the release of his half-brother who could have made a claim to the
leadership of his PPM party.
Yameen secured the leadership of his party on Friday.
His five-year term as president will come to an end on November 17 when Solih is due to be sworn in.
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