5 August 2019
Former vice president of the Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb, arrived on a tugboat in the southern Indian port city of Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin, the official name until 2018). Indian authorities detained Adeeb early on Thursday.
Virgo 9, the Singapore-registered tugboat was pulling a stone-laden barge from Male Port on 27 July. After a few kilometres, Adeeb boarded the boat without valid documents. One of the crew members alerted the vessel agent in Thoothukudi about the presence of Adeeb in the tugboat. The agent alerted officials who detained him.
India’s foreign affairs ministry said Adeeb was not allowed to enter the country because he did not have a valid travel document. It is not clear whether Indian authorities planned to deport Adeeb back to the Maldives. He is a key witness in a money laundering case against former President Yameen.
Maldives police on Saturday (Aug 3) arrested Adeeb and were bringing him to the capital Male after he was refused entry to India. He is being transported to Male under police custody.
Adeeb was sentenced in Maldives to 15 years in jail in 2016 for allegedly plotting to assassinate the then-president Abdulla Yameen. He was also convicted of corruption and terrorism and faced a total of sentence of 33 years.
Earlier Adeeb had served a three years prison term on terrorism and corruption charges. The appeals court later wiped out Adeeb’s 33-year jail sentence on terrorism and corruption charges, citing political influence over his trials, Maldives Independent stated. But the Supreme Court imposed a travel ban on Adeeb in late June. His passport was also withheld.
Adeeb’s lawyer Toby Cadman of London-based legal group Guernica 37, said the former vice-president was seeking asylum in India. On Saturday, Cadman said the new government in the Maldives was using Adeeb “as a political pawn”. The lawyer alleged the authorities forced Adeeb to sign “an agreement by which he would implicate members of the previous administration in criminal conduct and that the provision of necessary medical care was withheld until he signed the agreement”.
Aljazeerz reported.