The foreign ministry has stated that it is facing obstacles in extraditing Abdulla Luthufee, the mastermind of the 1988 coup attempt.
The ministry stated that it reported to the relevant authorities as soon as Luthufee turned himself in at the Maldivian Embassy in Colombo on May 1, and that work is being done to return him to Maldives.
However, the ministry stated that since an Interpol red notice was issued, there are specific procedures to follow to extradite him. The ministry stated that, since Luthufee had been hiding in Sri Lanka without a valid visa and that he had also sought asylum, the authorities need to satisfy certain legal procedures in Sri Lanka.
Since the previous government had left the Commonwealth, there has been concerns over the validity of the extradition agreement between Maldives and Sri Lanka, stated the ministry, adding that another obstacle is that Luthufee’s stay at the Maldivian Embassy coincided with the Easter bombings.
Despite the obstacles, the ministry stated that it began procedures to extradite Luthufee on the first day and transferred custody to the police service and that it will keep working to fulfill all international and local procedures to hand Luthufee over to the Maldives government as soon as possible.
The attempted coup on November 3, 1988, by a Sri Lankan militant group led to the death of 19 Maldivians.
Luthufee was initially sentenced to death for leading the coup, which was reduced to life imprisonment by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. He fled fled Maldives in 2010 after he was given permission to travel abroad for medical treatment during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.
Luthufee’s partner, Sagaru Ahmed Nasir, was released in 2014 after serving his life sentence.