Parliamentarians on Monday argued an early-day motion on the status of fugitive Abdulla Luthufee’s recapture and return to the Maldives.
The early-day motion was submitted by former defence minister and current MP for the opposition Adam Shareef, who has raised concerns about the delay in bringing Luthufee back to the country.
However, MPs debating the issue defended the government, saying attempts were being made to bring him back.
Luthufee, who was serving a commuted death sentence for an armed coup attempt in 1988, escaped while on a medical visit to India in 2010. The authorities have been attempting to capture him since and he is on an Interpol red notice for “abscondment … while undergoing treatment in India”.
The armed coup attempt of 1988 saw 19 Maldivians murdered, as mercenaries from a terrorist organisation in Sri Lanka attempted to take over the government.
Police say that Luthufee surrendered himself at the Maldivian embassy on May 1 and that they are working alongside Sri Lankan authorities to extradite him to the Maldives.
MP Mohamed Aslam said that Luthufee should be brought back to serve his time in jail.
“Luthufee has to be brought back and jailed. The government has to decide what happens when his sentence is up too,” Aslam said.
MP Ilyas Labeeb blamed previous governments, saying efforts were not made to capture the fugitive. He said there was no reason for the early-day motion and described it as a political gesture by the opposition.
MP Abdulla Shaheem echoed Labeeb’s sentiments accusing Shareef of being in contact with Luthufee.
“I have seen Adam Shareef, the honorable MP who submitted this motion, in Sri Lanka when he was the defence minister having coffee with Luthufee. This is very regrettable,” Shaheem said.
Shaheem’s accusations were denied by Shareef.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the police said they have been working with the foreign ministry to bring Luthufee back since he surrendered and expressed his wish to serve out his sentence in the Maldives.