The former vice president was detained in Tuticorin, India after he attempted to enter the country via sea route after fleeing Maldives. Indian authorities handed Adeeb over to Maldivian authorities, who transported him back to Maldives.
According to Criminal Procedural laws, an arrested individual must be presented in court for an ‘initial appearance’ to decide on his remand within 24 hours of being arrested.
Adeeb was presented to Criminal Court late Sunday night with the police seeking to remand him for 15 days in state custody for fleeing the country while his passport had been withheld under a Supreme Court order. However, the Criminal Court ordered his immediate release citing that the police had not followed procedure in arresting Adeeb on international waters, as Adeeb was arrested before entering Maldivian territory.
The Prosecutor General’s attorney confirmed that while Adeeb was arrested under a court order issued by the Maldives Criminal Court, the warrant holds no strength on international waters, where international laws and the Maritime Law are applicable.
She further said ‘Flag State Law’ was applicable in the situation, where flag state of a merchant vessel is the jurisdiction under whose laws the vessel is registered or licensed, and is deemed the nationality of the vessel. The flag state has the authority and responsibility to enforce regulations over vessels registered under its flag.
Maldives police confirmed that the vessel had an Indian flag and was not registered in the Maldives. Therefore, the police had no authority to arrest Adeeb on international waters, admitted the PG attorney.
The presiding judge then ordered Adeeb’s release, upon which he was taken to police headquarters once again. He was in the building for an hour or so before he was escorted to his apartment around dawn. Two investigative officers entered the apartment with Adeeb while two Spsecial Operations officers stood guard outside the building.
It is understood that Adeeb departed to India in an attempt to flee Maldives last Saturday, following a vacation to a local resort during the Independence Day holidays. Adeeb’s departure became known to authorities on Sunday, upon which the police immediately began work to locate Adeeb with assistance from India and Sri Lanka.
Singapore-registered ‘Virgo 9’, the tug boat on which Adeeb traveled to India stopped at Maldives after loading gravel in Indonesia. Eight Indonesian and one Indian crewman were aboard the boat at the time. Adeeb’s attempt to enter India was thwarted by the Indian crewman.
Adeeb was quizzed on the tugboat just off Tuticorin harbour in India, and was not permitted to enter India since he was not entering through a designated entry point and did not possess valid documents. The Indian government also denied Adeeb’s request seeking asylum in the country.
Adeeb remains a subject of investigation for alleged misappropriation of state funds, corruption and money laundering. He recently traveled to India for medical purposes with the permission of Maldives Correctional Service while under their custody.
Adeeb returned to Maldives after his medical trip amid public concerns that he would attempt to flee the country, and proclaimed that he was not one to ‘flee the country’. However, he fled to India in the tug boat while his passport was withheld by Maldives Immigration, with an active travel ban imposed on him. The State had also requested for a court order to detain Adeeb for fear that he may flee the country.
In a statement released on Sunday ight, the law firm representing Adeeb ‘Guernica 37’ said while Adeeb had sought asylum in India through UN channels, Adeeb was handed over to Maldivian authoresses against international and Indian laws, they said.
It also said that Indian authorities attempted to make it seem that Adeeb was questioned on tugboat ‘Virgo 9’ outside of the Indian waters, however, it is clear that the boat was at Tuticoron harbor. Therefore, Adeeb was within India‘s jurisdiction at the time, they claimed.
Adeeb was escorted to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by the Indian Coast Guard and transferred to a Maldivian Coast Guard ship, where Maldivian officials took him into custody. This action gives strength to the fact that he was already within India‘s jurisdiction at the time.
“As we now believe he is being detained by the Maldivian authorities, we will be petitioning the United Nations Special Procedures in Geneva, in particular the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,” his lawyer said.