Maldives police arrest former vice president after India denies entry

Ahmed Adeeb was denied entry in India after he reached the southern port onboard a tug vessel.

Malpes police have arrested former Vice-President Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and taken into custody, two days after he was denied entry in India after he reached the coast of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu onboard a tug vessel.

"We would like to confirm that Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor of H. Saamaraa has been arrested and is being transported to Male under our custody," the Malpes Police tweeted yesterday.

Adheeb, who is facing trial in the Malpes, had tried to enter India to seek political asylum, but government sources said he was denied entry as he did not come through a designated entry point and did not possess valid travel documents . On Saturday, he was sent back to his country and was received by a team of security personnel near the international maritime boundary.

London-based legal group Guernica 37, which is representing Adeeb, said they would approach the United Nations. "As we now believe he is being detained by the Malpian authorities, we will be petitioning the United Nations Special Procedures in Geneva, in particular, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention," Reuters quoted Toby Cadman of Guernica 37 as saying.

Adheeb s lawyers in London had requested India to grant him political asylum, citing threat to his life from the current dispensation in the Malpes.

Adheeb is a key witness in a money laundering case against Abdulla Yameen, who lost the presidential election to Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in September last year. A senior Malpian official had earlier said that Adheeb was supposed to appear before investigators earlier this week.

In 2016, Adeeb, one of the richest and influential politicians of the Malpes, who was Vice-President from July 22 to November 5, 2015, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for allegedly plotting to assassinate the then President Abdulla Yameen.

He was also convicted of corruption and terrorism and faces a total sentence of 33 years. This year, a court-ordered a fresh trial on the same charges after cancelling his convictions, citing undue political interference.