Adeeb’s lawyer slams report of escape attempt

Adeeb’s lawyer slams report of escape attempt
March 12 12:32 2017

Jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s lawyer has slammed a report in Vnews alleging that his client was transferred to a police custodial centre Wednesday after an attempt to escape from the high-security Maafushi prison.

In a statement on Friday, Moosa Siraj said Adeeb has never attempted or planned to escape from prison, condemning Vnews for failing to contact the convict’s family and basing its report on an unnamed government source.

“Neither the police nor [the Maldives Corrections Service] has informed Ahmed Adeeb or his family that he was transferred to Dhoonidhoo for such a reason,” he added.

But Vnews had reported that Adeeb’s family was informed that he was moved to the police detention centre for security seasons.

According to newspaper Mihaaru, Home Minister Azleen Ahmed instructed the MCS in a confidential letter last week to move Adeeb to the detention centre.

A police spokeswoman confirmed Adeeb’s transfer to the Maldives Independent but declined to provide further details. She was also unable to explain whether the prisons authority is authorised to transfer an inmate serving a jail sentence to police custody.

The police custodial centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo near Malé is used to detain suspects during ongoing investigations or ahead of their trials.

Adeeb is serving a 33-year jail sentence on multiple counts of corruption and terrorism. In addition to a conviction over the theft of US$5 million from state coffers, he was also found guilty of masterminding a bomb attack on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat and of plotting to use a firearm during an opposition protest last year.

Adeeb is also on trial over a weapons cache that was discovered submerged in the reef of an uninhabited island in late 2015.

A hearing of the third terrorism trial scheduled for last Tuesday was cancelled at the last minute. The trial began in August last year and has been closed to the public since October, ostensibly on national security grounds. If found guilty, Adeeb faces an additional jail term of between 10 and 15 years.

Last month, jailed MP Ahmed Mahloof alleged that Adeeb has been held in solitary confinement for more than a year inside “a concrete hole exposed to the sun”.

Mahloof, whose cell is separated by a partition from Adeeb’s, also accused the prisons authority of denying medical treatment to the former vice president.

But the MCS denied the allegations. “He is not in a concrete hole, he is in a normal cell,” Information Officer Ahmed Luqman told the Maldives Independent at the time.