MALE, Maldives (AP) — A former vice president of the Maldives who was arrested after fleeing to neighboring India to avoid questioning over the alleged embezzlement of state funds was taken to a Maldives detention center on Monday after being returned to the country.
India had refused entry to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on Thursday. Maldives police later confirmed that they had arrested him and returned him to the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.
Late Sunday night, Adeeb was brought to Male, the Maldives’ capital, in a navy ship. He was taken to a court, which ordered his release, saying authorities had not followed proper legal procedures in arresting him in international waters.
However, police obtained another arrest warrant early Monday and arrested Adeeb and took him to Dhoonidhoo detention center, where he was being held.
Adeeb had fled the Maldives and arrived by boat in southern India’s Tuticorin port on Thursday, seeking asylum there. But Indian authorities said they did not allow him to enter the country because he did not possess valid documents and he was not entering through a designated entry point.
An international legal team appearing for Adeeb said Friday that he had sought the protection of India and had initiated the process of claiming asylum.
Maldives police previously said that Adeeb was supposed to be questioned last Wednesday over the alleged embezzlement of state funds, but that he did not report and instead fled the country.
Adeeb had his passport confiscated by a court order because of pending court cases, according to police. He had recently been freed from a 33-year jail sentence over corruption and terrorism related to an alleged assassination attempt on former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
He was arrested and jailed in 2016 after a blast on Yameen’s speedboat. Yameen’s wife was slightly injured in the blast. FBI officials assisting in the probe said they did not trace any explosives in the boat and Adeeb’s jailing was criticized as being politically motivated.
After Yameen’s defeat in last year’s presidential election, courts set aside the convictions against Adeeb and ordered a fresh investigation. However, a court imposed a travel ban because the state had appealed Adeeb’s release.
Once a trusted ally and deputy to Yameen, Adeeb is now a key state witness in the corruption cases.