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Sri Lankan official meets detained ‘sniper’

A Sri Lankan national has been detained since late 2015 on suspicion of planning to assassinate the former president.



A Sri Lankan government official has met with a citizen of the country who has been detained in the Maldives since 2015 on suspicion of planning to assassinate the former president.

According to Mihaaru newspaper, the meeting between Lahiru Madushanka and local government and provincial council minister Faizal Musthafa took place at the Maafushi prison.

Musthafa was visiting the Maldives to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih last Saturday.

Last month, Amnesty International condemned the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of the Sri Lankan national, alleging he has been beaten and tortured.

The rights group says Madushanka, who was charged for “knowingly taking part in a conspiracy to murder” former president Abdulla Yameen, has also been denied a fair trial.

He has suffered “vicious” police beatings, prolonged solitary confinement and beatings with cables that caused him to temporarily lose hearing in one ear, Amnesty said in a report titled ‘Prisoner in Paradise.’

Madhushanka was arrested in October 2015 on a different charge, with the assassination allegation and charge following months later. His remand hearings and interrogations were in Dhivehi, which he does not speak, and he was not given legal aid.

In July, Amnesty accused prison authorities of breaking the law and expressed concern over his possible loss of eyesight. Authorities were also accused of coercing him into following Islamic practices and barring him from following his Buddhist faith.

Madhushanka was in the Maldives for a job as a driver that fell through, the rights group said. The job had been arranged by another Sri Lankan, who was in contact with a group close to ex-vice president Ahmed Adeeb who was convicted of plotting to assassinate Yameen.

Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty’s South Asia research director, said in October that the “new president of the Maldives, who will be sworn in next month, must ensure that all prisoners are treated humanely and tried in courts where justice is worthy of its name.”

“No human being should be treated in this way,” said Dissanayake of Madhushanka. “All the more reason why a thorough investigation should promptly be launched by the Maldivian authorities.”

As pledged, President Solih on his first day in office formed a committee “to release the detainees who have been criminally charged for political motives.”

The committee is comprised of Home Minister Imran Abdulla, the commissioner of police, legal counsel to the president, and Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath.