A court in the Maldives ordered a former vice president to be detained for 15 days, after he was returned home following his failed attempt to enter India.
Police say Ahmed Adeeb fled the Maldives by boat last week despite a travel ban to avoid being questioned over the alleged embezzlement of state funds.
He arrived in southern India’s Tuticorin port on Thursday, seeking asylum there, but Indian authorities did not allow him to enter because he lacked valid documents and was not entering through a designated entry point.
Maldives police brought him to Male, the capital of the Indian Ocean archipelago, in a naval ship early Sunday. But a court late Sunday night ordered his release, saying authorities had not followed proper legal procedures in arresting him in international waters.
Police obtained another arrest warrant early Monday and arrested Adeeb and took him to Dhoonidhoo detention center. He was produced in criminal court late Monday and ordered detained for 15 days.
An international legal team appearing for Adeeb said Friday that he had sought the protection of India and had initiated the process of claiming asylum.
Maldives police previously said Adeeb was supposed to be questioned last Wednesday over the alleged embezzlement, but that he did not report and instead fled the country.
Adeeb had his passport confiscated by a court order because of pending court cases, according to police. He had recently been freed from a 33-year jail sentence over corruption and terrorism related to an alleged assassination attempt on former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
He was arrested and jailed in 2016 after a blast on Yameen’s speedboat.
Yameen’s wife was slightly injured in the blast. FBI officials assisting in the probe said they did not trace any explosives in the boat and Adeeb’s jailing was criticized as being politically motivated.
After Yameen’s defeat in last year’s presidential election, courts set aside the convictions against Adeeb and ordered a fresh investigation.
However, a court imposed a travel ban because the state had appealed Adeeb’s release.
Once a trusted ally and deputy to Yameen, Adeeb is now a key state witness in the corruption cases.
(With inputs from agency)