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Maldivians detained in Sri Lanka released

The two men were arrested in a security sweep after the Easter Sunday bombings.



Two Maldivians arrested in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings last month have been released after three weeks in custody.

The pair was released without charge on Tuesday after they were taken to court for a remand hearing, a foreign ministry official confirmed.

‘Funama’ Adam Manik and ‘Baikedi’ Hassan Manik, two activists of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party, were arrested in Colombo on April 27 after police found literature in their house related to the Islamic State terror group.

Prior to their release, the court extended their remand detention three times.

Local media reported that they were arrested after Sri Lankan police raided their apartment and found a book called ‘Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,’ a Pulitzer-winning work of nonfiction that belonged to another Maldivian who used to live in the residence.

The men reportedly travelled to the neighbouring country for medical treatment.

Five Maldivians were arrested in a sweeping security operation launched in the wake of the IS-linked suicide bombings that claimed over 250 lives. Several Maldivians were also taken in for questioning for various reasons after the attacks, most of whom were found to have overstayed their visas.

Some 15,000 Maldivians reside in Sri Lanka, based mainly in the capital Colombo. According to media reports, several families have been returning due to targeting and harassment of Muslims.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid called his Sri Lankan counterpart and requested security measures for the protection of Maldivian expatriates.

Shahid travelled to Colombo earlier this month to discuss visa restrictions with Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe.