A dramatic entry by cargo ship and an appeal to the UN marks the arrival of Ahmed Adeeb
Former Vice President of Maldives Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafour, who smuggled himself to the shores of Tuticorin dressed as crew member on a tugboat, has sought political asylum in India.
Adeeb was not allowed to get off the tug boat, Virgo 9, by the officials until late last night. Tamil Nadu DGP JK Tripathy told The Lede - "He has not been arrested. He is still on the boat."
A source in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) confirmed that Indian officials were yet to decide on his request for asylum.
But, Adeeb's international legal team from London issued a press statement that their client was subjected to a series of politically motivated prosecutions in his country. The statement was issued by Nenad Vucijak of the Guernica Group.
The legal team has pointed out that India should not come under pressure to deny him asylum as India has not ratified any extradition treaty with Maldives until now, the decision to grant asylum will be based with due consideration of UN Convention on Human Rights and the Rights of Political Refugees.
The statement said even though the Supreme Court of Maldives had acquitted him of all offences last year, the authorities forced him to sign an agreement with a binding clause.
The legal team has called upon the UN Office of the High Commission of Refugees and UN High Commission for Human Rights that his rights are protected.
Ahmed Adeeb served as the Vice President of Maldives for a brief period in 2015 before being arrested on charges of corruption and terrorism.
Abdulla Yameen, the former President was said to have imprisoned most of his political rivals including the former president Mohamed Nasheed. However Ahmed Adeeb seemed to be on top of Yameen’s list and he was not even permitted medical leave.
After Yameen lost the Presidential election last year, the appellate courts of Maldives quashed the cases against Adeeb on May 21, 2019, ordering fresh trials in two out of three cases against him.
The courts quashed the 15 year sentence triggering doubts if the original trial and investigations were politically motivated.
Adeeb is also allegedly involved in the MMPRC Scandal (Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company). He was the Tourism minister, a highly revenue generating portfolio in a country like Maldives, for more than three years in the government headed by President Nasheed.
Maldives, whose major revenue is based on tourism and real estates, was keen on making the island more tourism-friendly. However there were allegations of embezzlement of $80 million in real estate projects.
President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, the founding member of Maldivian Democratic Party and the one who spearheaded political reform movement in the early 2000s, reportedly rode to victory on a main campaign note that he would investigate the corruption allegations of Yameen's government.
Subsequently, the former president Abdulla Yameen was arrested for money laundering after the Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives found that SOF Private Ltd (also a company established by asylum seeking Ahmed Adeeb), laundered more than US $92 million from the country's tourism board, MMPRCL.