Indian authorities deported Maldives’ former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, after he tried to get into the country illegally.
Indian news outlets report that Adeeb was transported back “in the same vessel” he arrived in India, and that the nine crew members on board have also been handed over to Maldivian authorities. They are to have been handed over at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
Reports of Adeeb being detained in India in an attempt to flee from authorities emerged on Thursday; he is to have traveled there on a tugboat ‘Virgo 9’.
While Virgo 9 reached Tuticorin Old Port in Tamil Nadu on Thursday morning, it was denied permission to dock after authorities learnt of Adeeb’s presence on the boat.
India’s decision to deport the Maldives’ former vice president comes despite an asylum plea from him, claiming threats to his life.
In a statement issued on Friday, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers- the firm representing Adeeb- said that “there is a very real and demonstrable risk that his fundamental rights and freedoms will be violated” if he is returned home and that he “is at risk of becoming a victim of a politically motivate justice system.”
It also reminded the Indian government of its “obligations under international law, adding that it does not matter that the former VP had entered India illegally given that “once a claim of asylum is made, the appropriate authorities are required to consider it" ; India is yet to enact a uniform law that addresses the issue of asylum and is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.
‘New Indian Express’ reports that Indian officials had initiated an inquiry following Adeeb’s asylum plea, but noted that it had led to the discovery that the former vice president's entry was “not through a designated point and he did not possess valid travel documents.”
Adeeb was impeached as VP in November 2015, after being arrested in connection with a blast aboard the presidential speedboat that the government says was an assassination attempt on then President Abdulla Yameen.
While Yameen has since been charged with money laundering, the state has named his former deputy as a witness in the case. The hearings in the case are being broadcast live, and Adeeb is expected to testify at the hearing set for Sunday.
Adeeb’s flee attempt came as a surprise to many, given that he recently tweeted that he “will face [the] investigations and never run away from responsibilities.”
Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham blamed the Supreme Court for his near successful attempt, and told RaajjeMV that they had sought an arrest warrant for Adeeb from the court.
“This incident could have been prevented, had the court issued the order.”
~ PG Bisham
Maldives Immigration also denied reports that Adeeb had a valid traveled document, adding that he as an “international travel ban.” The Supreme Court had last month ordered authorities to withhold his passport.
While Adeeb was sentenced to 33 years in prison over various charges including terrorism and corruption, his sentences were overturned this year. However, the court had ordered retrials in two cases, and the state has appealed on the verdicts which led to the confiscation of his passport.