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Gasim can be declared fugitive says prison authority



Jumhooree party leader Gasim Ibrahim can be declared a fugitive, the Maldives prison authority has said, after the latest deadline for his return to Male passed on Monday night.

Gasim, sentenced to three years in absentia for attempted bribery, was released on medical furlough for cardiovascular treatment in September. He was initially given 10 days medical leave which was later extended for a further 10 days.

On September 25, he was denied boarding on a Singapore Airlines flight after doctors declared him unfit to travel, prompting Maldives Correctional Services to give him a further seven days “to get ready to travel”.

Ahmed Lugman, MCS spokesman, told Maldives Independent the third extension expired midnight Monday, meaning the former lawmaker could be treated as a fugitive.

Lugman denied local media reports Gasim had already been declared a fugitive.

“When a convict who has been given medical furlough to travel abroad for treatment doesn’t come back on time, we can declare them to be fugitives. In that case we will report the case to the police,” Lugman said.

Lugman noted the MCS had not yet reported Gasim’s case to the police.

Gasim’s legal team said he had attempted to board a flight back to the Maldives ahead of the Monday deadline on two separate occasions and was denied from doing so.

“He actually has no way to leave Singapore. Doctors have declared him unfit to fly. The airlines are refusing to sell tickets to him,” Gasim’s lawyer Hisaan Hussain told the Maldives Independent.

According to Gasim’s family, he underwent a coronary angioplasty surgery on September 15.

Doctors have recommended he stay in Singapore for three months, while he recovers from the surgery. An electrophysiology study, to find the origins of an abnormal heartbeat, is scheduled for October 19.

Lawyers said the latest request for an extension of Gasim’s furlough was denied by MCS on Monday.