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Maldives’ ex-vice president who fled to India brought back

August 4, 2019

MALE, Maldives (AP) — A former vice president of Maldives who was arrested after fleeing to neighboring India to avoid questioning over the alleged embezzlement of state funds was brought back to Maldives on Sunday night.

India had refused entry to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on Thursday and later Maldives police confirmed that they have arrested him and returned him to Maldives.

Late night on Sunday, Adeeb was brought to Male, the capital of Maldives in a navy ship and was taken to the police headquarters.

Adeeb had fled Maldives and arrived by boat at 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, Maldivian 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.

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