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Sri Lankan ‘sniper’ released after court dismisses charges

The Sri Lankan was detained in 2015 on suspicion of planning to assassinate the former president.



The criminal court on Wednesday ordered the release of a Sri Lankan national who was detained in 2015 on suspicion of planning to assassinate the former president.

Citing insufficient evidence, the court dismissed charges against Lahiru Madushanka and returned the case to the Prosecutor General’s office, his lawyer Fareesha Abdulla told the Maldives Independent.

Following his release from jail Wednesday night, Madushanka is due to travel back to Sri Lanka later on Thursday, she added.

His release follows a meeting with a Sri Lankan minister earlier this week.

Faizal Mustafa, the local government and provincial council minister, who was in the Maldives for the inauguration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was outside Malé jail when he was released, Raajje TV reported.

Mustafa told the station that the most important thing was to re-unite Madushanka with his wife and children.

“He was in trauma for three years. I am really sad about that. He has a six-year-old child. Three years for the child without seeing the father,” he said.

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 said Madushanka, who was charged for “knowingly taking part in a conspiracy to murder” former president Abdulla Yameen, was also denied a fair trial.

He 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.