Former Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who was detained in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district two days ago, was deported late on Friday by the Coast Guard, The Hindu reported. According to The Times of India, the nine crew members of tugboat “Virgo 9” that Adeeb had used to enter the country were also handed over to Maldivian authorities at the International Maritime Boundary Line. The crew members include an Indian and eight Indonesians.
This came a day affter Adeeb’s counsel in London said his client had come to India for political asylum, PTI reported. Toby Cadman, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, asked the Indian government to uphold the Maldivian leader’s asylum plea in accordance with international law. “We remain deeply concerned that he could be returned to the Maldives where his life is at risk,” PTI quoted Cadman as saying. “I would remind the Maldives authorities that he has claimed asylum and if they want to return him to the Maldives, the proper course of action is through a request for extradition, not through any other means.”
The lawyer dismissed reports that Adeeb had been arrested. “He fled the Maldives due to the ongoing pressures placed upon him to sign an agreement implicating other persons in relation to a corruption scandal,” Cadman claimed. “He was forced to sign an agreement and provide false testimony on video.”
The Maldivian leader’s legal team also said it had initiated contact with the United Nations’ Office of the High Commission for Refugees and the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights to act with diligence in considering his application and ensure that his rights are protected.
Meanwhile, the police in Maldives said the former vice president was “interdicted during his attempt to flee the country via sea”. The police claimed Adeeb was facing an active travel ban by the Supreme Court of Maldives and was facing investigation for “alleged misappropriation of state funds, corruption and money laundering”.
Adeeb was sacked and arrested on charges of attempting to assassinate former President Abdulla Yameen by blowing up his speedboat in September 2015. The following year, a court sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The sentence was quashed in May.