Lawyers representing jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb have asked the police to investigate an alleged plot to assassinate the 35-year-old in custody.
Adeeb’s lawyer Mahfooz Saeed wrote to Police Commissioner Ahmed Areef on Sunday claiming to have learned of “a plot to assassinate my client former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb in his cell in Dhoonidhoo prison.”
He urged the police to “take measures to avoid the occurrence of any such tragic incident.”
The police spokesman was unavailable for comment.
The allegations of an assassination plot come in the wake of a photo circulating on social media purporting to show the former vice president in his prison cell.
MP Ahmed Mahloof, who was recently released after serving nearly 11 months in prison, tweeted the picture and expressed “fear for Adeeb’s life”.
The police have confirmed that the photo shows a cell in the Dhoonidhoo detention centre. An internal probe is reportedly underway to determine the source of the leak.
Adeeb’s wife Maryam Nashwa said the cell is similar to the one described by her husband.
Adeeb was transferred to the police custodial centre in March, reportedly on the instruction of Home Minister Mohamed Azleen. His lawyer at the time denied media reports alleging that Adeeb was transferred to Dhoonidhoo after an attempt to escape from the high-security Maafushi prison.
The former vice president has meanwhile been trying to secure permission to travel overseas for the treatment of glaucoma, kidney stones and internal cysts.
Nashwa previously told the Maldives Independent in June that the family’s main concern is glaucoma as it can lead to permanent blindness.
“As far as we know, the treatment is not available in Maldives. Adeeb has a persisting kidney problem, he has had kidney stones removed once before. Doctors have also asked to test an internal cyst for cancer,” she said.
The family is especially concerned about the cyst because a sibling had died after the discovery of a cancerous cyst.
“Adeeb’s brother died at 33 years after a cancerous cyst was diagnosed. The cyst was diagnosed at stage three and doctors have asked to do tests. It has been more than a year now,” she said.
But the government has so far declined to authorise a medical leave for Adeeb on the grounds that he might use the opportunity to flee.
Speaking at a press conference in late June, AG Mohamed Anil denied that the authorities have deprived Adeeb of health care and suggested that he could afford to bring specialists from abroad if the required treatment is unavailable in the Maldives.
“Adeeb is a very high flight risk. And if he escapes, the loss to the state will be very high,” he said.
“In what country would a person convicted of trying to kill the head of state be allowed to escape? In what country would someone who embezzled millions of dollars owed to the state be allowed to escape with that money?”
The former vice president is serving a 33-year jail sentence on multiple counts of corruption and terrorism. He was found guilty of masterminding a bomb attack on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat and of plotting to use a firearm during an opposition protest.
In addition to a conviction for the theft of US$5 million from state coffers, Adeeb is also facing prosecution on numerous counts of abuse of authority over the embezzlement of nearly US$80 million from the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation – a corruption scandal of unprecedented scale in Maldivian history.