A former Maldives president is freed after a high court throws out his 11-year sentence

MALE, Maldives (AP) — A court in the Maldives on Thursday threw out former President Abdulla Yameen’s 11-year prison sentence on money laundering and bribery charges and ordered a retrial.

The development comes two days ahead of parliamentary elections in this Indian Ocean archipelago nation, known as an exclusive tourist destination.

The ruling, which was broadcast on the court’s YouTube channel, is seen as a potential boost to President Mohamed Muizzu’s party, which is seeking to secure a majority in the 87-member Parliament. Yameen and Muizzu have long been political allies.

The High Court ruled on Yameen’s appeal and said in its decision that his 2022 trial before the Criminal Court was unfair and released him.

The lower court had convicted Yameen two years ago of accepting money for leasing an island owned by the government, which he was accused of having done during his 2013-2018 term in office.

Last October, Yameen was transferred from prison to house arrest after Muizzu won the Maldives’ presidential election.

No date has been scheduled for the retrial.

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