The Maldives opposition party has urged the state to release the imprisoned former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The parliament minority leader, PPM affiliate lawmaker of Eydhafushi constituency Ahmed Saleem made the statement as a response to the presidential address on 03 February 2020.

According to the lawmaker, the Maldives witnessed the birth of a full-fledged multi-party democracy with the implementation of the island nation's most recent Constitution on 2008.

In his argument, Saleem claimed on the importance of an opposition leader and the vested influence such an individual must have in order to criticize and hold government policies accountable.

Saleem also noted an opposition leader is crucial in the political foreground to ensure the ruling party is held responsible for its course of actions.

The opposition lawmaker pointed out on former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's jailing on two occasions in 2019, following the conclusion of his five year presidential term. Saleem also noted the former head of state was currently serving a five year jail sentence, which he deemed as unjust.

The parliamentarian further argued the imprisonment of a former head of state is a sign of the political regression in the country, adding such actions will gravely undermine the development of democracy itself.

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is currently serving a Criminal Court sentenced verdict of a five-year jail term for the offense of money laundering, for which he was convicted on 28 November 2019.

The former head of state was additionally sentenced with a fine of USD5 million.