Ex-cabinet minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef has been released from police custody in Malaysia, but Hamid Ismail, an influential businessman wanted on suspicion of links to an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat, remains detained, credible sources have confirmed.
Shareef and Hamid were arrested along with two others from an apartment in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, the source familiar with the matter said.
Shareef, who quit Yameen’s cabinet last week, was released hours later, the source said.
A police spokesman confirmed Hamid’s arrest, but insisted today that no other individual was arrested in the joint special operation conducted with the Malaysian police.
The government is trying to extradite Hamid to Malé, but efforts are not successful yet.
The Maldives does not have an extradition treaty with Malaysia.
Hamid is related to Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who is being held at the Dhoonidhoo Island detention center, also on suspicion of links to the boat blast.
The government says the blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president. Yameen escaped unhurt, but the first lady remains hospitalized over injuries to her spine.
The vice president was arrested on Saturday on charges of “high treason” over the alleged assassination attempt.
Police officers raided Hamid’s residence in Malé on the night of October 16. The court warrant authorising the raid was issued in connection to the blast on the speedboat.
It authorised the seizure of security camera footage and stated that police intelligence have learned of efforts to erase the footage and “destroy other evidence”.
At the time of the raid, Hamid was accompanying Adeeb in his official visit to China and was photographed in meetings with Chinese government officials. He also participated in the Maldives investment forum with the vice president.
Shareef had also accompanied the vice president during the visit. He resigned a day after returning from China when he was told to stay home. The resignation came amid a purge of the vice president’s supporters from the government in the days before his arrest.
Hamid is the president of the Maldives national chamber of commerce and industries.
In his public address since the blast on the speedboat, Yameen said on Sunday that his deputy was obstructing the investigation into the alleged assassination attempt by exerting undue influence over the police force.
He revealed that “bomb-making materials” were found in the homes of three soldiers arrested on suspicion of tampering with evidence. The three soldiers were explosives experts who inspected the speedboat immediately after the blast.
Yameen said that the police have established links between the suspects and Adeeb’s bodyguards.
Adeeb, however, denies any involvement in the boat blast. His lawyer Hussain Shameem insists there is no evidence to keep the vice president detained, except a secret police intelligence report.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has meanwhile submitted a motion to the parliament to impeach Adeeb with 52 signatures, just five short of the 57 votes needed to remove him from the post.
Adeeb has also been expelled from the PPM. He was the party’s deputy leader.