Maldives' opposition leader convicted of bribery freed

Maldives' opposition leader convicted of bribery freed

Jumhooree Party's founder Qasim Ibrahim. AFP File

A court in the Maldives has freed an opposition leader, setting aside a lower court's conviction for bribery.

The High Court, in hearing an appeal by Qasim Ibrahim, said on Monday that there were procedural violations by the Criminal Court in convicting him.

Ibrahim, a political party leader and businessman owning a chain of tourist resorts, was sentenced to more than three years in prison last year after he joined forces with the opposition in trying to unseat President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

He was accused of offering to fund re-election campaigns of government lawmakers in return for voting for an opposition-sponsored no-faith motion against the parliamentary speaker.

Ibrahim was exiled in Germany following heart surgery in Singapore and only returned home earlier this month after Yameen's presidential election defeat.